31 Oct 2022

Season 2 Ep 11: Number 8 Wire

From The Aotearoa History Show, 5:00 am on 31 October 2022

New Zealanders like to think we have a “Number 8 Wire Mentality” - a rough and ready enthusiasm for fixing and building stuff with limited resources. 

From the first Māori arrivals who worked out how to grow tropical plants in our cold, wet climate - to modern scientific breeding and robotics, New Zealand agriculture has always been at the cutting edge.

But innovation isn’t always good news for all people, or for the environment - so in this episode we dig into the history of New Zealand agriculture through the lens of innovation. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Māori worked out which native New Zealand plants were edible.

  • How Māori managed to grow tropical plants like kūmara in New Zealand's cold and wet climate. 

  • New Zealand innovations in sheep breeding and shearing - including the violent disputes over wide shearing combs in Australia. 

  • New Zealand’s embrace of topdressing, and the devastating impacts of phosphate mining in Nauru.

  • A whole lot more!

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