Ever since the invention of the wheel, machinery has transformed the lives and livelihoods of people and industries around the world. Farmers have been major participants in this innovation – using the power of technology to become more efficient and productive in harvesting the products of the land.
Agricultural economies the world over have been transformed with the advent of new technology - from the basic wheel to the sophisticated machinery that today turns products of the land into commercial commodities.
New Zealand is no exception. One hundred years ago, a Christchurch-based company imported the country's first farm tractor: an American Kinnard Haines Flour City machine, capable of speeds up to five miles per hour. However, the new-fangled contraption was initially treated with some suspicion, with many farmers remaining unconverted until Henry Ford's mass-produced and more affordable Fordson arrived on the scene in 1918.
Since then our agriculture industry has continued to invent and adopt increasingly advanced machinery - a characteristic we celebrated with our Historic Farm Equipment stamp issue which marked a centenary since the arrival of the tractor to New Zealand – an event that signalled a permanent change to our landscape and our place in the global agricultural industry.
The five stamps in this issue each depicted a farm equipment icon against stylish renditions of our rural landscape, a reminder of New Zealand's foundations as an agricultural nation.
Generations of Change
The Historic Farm Equipment first day cover remembered times past with its image of a threshing mill and tractor, being aided by draught horses.
Machines and their Makers
A souvenir miniature sheet booklet told us more about the stamps, the machines and the story of their introduction to New Zealand. It included six miniature sheets, five incorporating one stamp and one incorporating the complete set of five stamps.
Product Listing for Historic Farm Equipment
Click on image to enlarge.
|Date of issue:||5 April 2004|
|Number of stamps:||Five|
|Denominations and designs:||45c Kinnard Haines Tractor, 90c Fordson F Tractor with Plough, $1.35 Burrell Traction Engine, $1.50 Threshing Mill, $2.00 Duncan's Seed Drill|
|Stamps designed by:||Ross Jones, Watermark, Wellington|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print Dunedin, by offset lithography|
|Miniature sheet booklet printer:||Wyatt & Wilson Print, Christchurch|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||Sheet stamps: 40mm x 30mm (horizontal); Miniature sheet booklet stamps: 42.27mm x 30.23mm (horizontal)|
|Paper type:||Sheet stamps: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor; Miniature sheet booklet stamp sheets: Chancellor Litho|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||50|
|Perforation gauge:||Sheet stamps: 14; Miniature sheet booklet stamps: 13.25|
|Special blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B format.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 4 April 2005.|