Saturday, 09 May 2015 16:51

A big wave from Kiwi Keith

Written by 
Jim Brooker (83), of Darfield, was an interested spectator at this year’s NZ Ploughing Champion. Jim Brooker (83), of Darfield, was an interested spectator at this year’s NZ Ploughing Champion.

Jim Brooker (83), of Darfield, recalls winning the first NZ Ploughing Championship at Oamaru in 1956 when he was 23 years old.

The sponsor was the Atlantic Oil Company, the NZ division of the Esso Oils and Fuel Company. The first prize was a round-the-world air ticket with Canadian Pacific Airlines, including flights to Hawaii and Vancouver, a train trip through the Rockies to Toronto, then a flight to Shillingford near Oxford, UK.

There a tractor and plough were provided by International Harvester Company – a B250 tractor and an Ace 8 plough.

“At 83 years old I remember the details probably easier than things that happen today,” says Brooker.

He finished 11th out of 25 ploughmen from 13 countries. He was farewelled from NZ by Prime Minister Sid Holland and his Minister of Agriculture Keith Holyoake.

“When I arrived to plough in UK, I was the only contestant who did not have a manager, judge or coach.”

Brooker started ploughing after he left school at 15 and worked on the family farm at Hawarden, North Canterbury, also doing shearing. He first competed using a plough borrowed from the neighbours – a TEA 24 and a two-furrow, Fergusson plough. All ploughing events were then run by Young Farmers clubs.

He qualified at an YFC event at Amuri, North Canterbury, and at 23 won the first New Zealand Ploughing Association final, using his dad’s IH W4 and an IH Ace plough. “That was a three-furrow plough that I changed to a two furrow.”

He recalls 26 competitors in a one-day event ploughing only grass.  

Brooker bought his first 80ha farm at Lowburn, “covered in gorse” and over 13 years built it up to 324ha. It was flat, rolling to steep. He sold this and moved to 300ha at Kirwee, since built up to 567ha.

More like this

Champs keep ploughing on

Ploughman Ian Woolly (Blenheim) and Malcolm Taylor (Putaruru) will represent NZ at next year’s World Ploughing championships in Ireland.

Ploughing ahead

A much scaled-down New Zealand Ploughing championship will be held near the Canterbury town of Kirwee in mid-July.

A guaranteed straight furrow

KUHN’s Smart Ploughing device offers the possibility of lifting each body individually thanks to a system that is fully integrated into the plough beam.

Ploughing in the mist

Heavy fog added to the atmosphere of the 64th National Ploughing Championships, held recently at Chertsey, near Rakaia, in Mid Canterbury.

National

Tatua smashes $10 barrier

Waikato milk processor Tatua says keeping products moving to overseas customers during the pandemic was one of the highlights of…

New regs boost Massey Ag course enrolments

Demand for expertise in sustainable nutrient management, environmental planning and improved freshwater outcomes has seen Massey University's range of agricultural…

Machinery & Products

Keeping everyone safe

As tractors get larger and front linkage kits become more common, many have started fitting underrun or collision protection systems.

Keeping stock and drivers safe

Livestock haulers are a crucial link in the New Zealand agriculture supply chain, transporting stock onto or between farms, to…

Making lamb marking easy

Designed by a sheep and beef farmer, Vetmarkers are made in New Zealand and sold around the world.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Flag it!

OPINION: Agriculture and Trade Minister Damien O'Connor tried to keep his latest overseas jaunt secret squirrel.

Oh dear!

OPINION: This old mutt suggests that farmers' growing discontent with Beef+Lamb NZ's performance is going to reach fever peak after…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter