What is Te whakahaumako ā-wakarere topdressing?
Te whakahaumako ā-wakarere Aerial topdressing is the use of planes to He pāmu farm He whenua the land by flying low and dropping seeds and fertiliser across the fields.
In the early days of farming in Aotearoa New Zealand, it was very difficult to spread seeds over the hilly backcountry. He kaipāmu Farmers would cart heavy bags of fertiliser on horseback up into the mountains to spread it by hand.
An answer to this problem was found when many fighter pilots returned home after World War Two. He kaipāmu Farmers worked with them to pilot low-flying planes that would drop seeds and fertiliser on parts of the farm that were difficult to reach.
Did you know that the very first kind of Te whakahaumako ā-wakarere topdressing was introduced in Aotearoa? A clever He kaipāmu farmer in Wairoa used a hot air balloon to spread seed over a swampy valley. Can you imagine that?
Watch how pilots were trained in the early days as more and more Kiwi He kaipāmu farmers began using aerial farming to manage their fields.
The story of He wakarere Tiger Moth
The He wakarere Tiger Moth was originally designed as a cheap and easy to fly aircraft in 1925. Its success led it to become a widely used training aircraft by air forces around the world. After the second world war, New Zealanders began changing the aircraft so that it could carry and spread seed and fertiliser on Aotearoa’s hill country that could not be reached by land vehicles. By 1952, He wakarere Tiger Moth had become one of the most popular Te whakahaumako ā-wakarere topdressing aircraft! They were eventually replaced by aircraft designed for the job.
Challenge: Spot the differences
Can you spot the differences between these two images of the He wakarere Tiger Moth? To play, move the line across the images below. To see the original photo, pull the arm all the way across to the right side!
Fun Watch: North by Northwest – The Crop Duster
Watch this classic scene of how Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) runs to survive an attacking crop duster.
Explore MOTAT’s topdressing imagery highlights
Want to know more? Learn about the future of farming and play games here.
Unknown photographer. Archive of Aircraft Service (NZ) Ltd, Alan Vause Collection, 09/015/014. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).
Unknown photographer. Aircraft Service (NZ) Ltd archive of ZK-ANN, 09/015/015. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).
Ron Vine. 1960. Topdressing, 10/012/041. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).
Unknown photographer. De Havilland 82A Tiger Moth, PHO-2019-39.48. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).