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

Machinery & Products

A new approach to apprenticeships

By taking a new approach to its apprenticeship programme, agricultural equipment supplier Norwood says it is ensuring farmers’ machinery will…

Buck-Rake does the job

With many self-propelled forage harvester manufacturers offering machines hitting 1000hp, the bottleneck in any harvesting system is always likely to…

Pigtail standards made to last

Feedback from farmers highlighted frustration at the time and cost involved in frequently replacing failed pigtail posts.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Say what?

OPINION: This old mutt almost choked while chewing his bone when he happened upon the latest politically-correct advice that’s been…

Why bother?

OPINION: A mate of the Hound’s recently applied for membership with Ashburton-based farm supply co-operative Ruralco.

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter