On the Farm: New Zealand’s Invisible Women by David Hall


ISBN 978-1-99-115911-3
270pp | 40 illustrations

On the Farm: New Zealand’s Invisible Women tells the fascinating stories of Kiwi farm women predominantly in their own words, drawing from the vast archive of letters written to New Zealand farming magazines throughout the 20th century.

It reveals the daily routines, the various roles women held on farms: from mother to teacher, baker to accountant, cleaner to farm worker, and how their extraordinarily busy work loads were carried out largely unacknowledged and unseen.

It shows how women struggled for greater recognition for their contributions to farming, tracing a time from when it was impossible for a woman to get a bank loan to own or operate a farm, to a period when women were often considered equal partners in the running of a farm and regularly became individual farm owners.


David Hall’s first career was in space science, first in science studies and then representing the UK in space science diplomacy, his final position was Director of Science at the British National Space Centre. In 2017 he completed a PhD on New Zealand-British trade relations at Victoria University of Wellington which was published by Palgrave Macmillan; it was while researching his PhD that he noted the subject of this book: the significant but under-recognised contribution of farm women and the changes taking place in their lives during the second half of the 20th century.