Call for ANZAC Day Speaker in Ashburton 

Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum is seeking a historian (ideally based nearby in Canterbury or Otago) to deliver a talk on ANZAC Day, Thursday 25 April at either 2pm or 3pm. The presentation should be focused on New Zealand’s ‘Land Girls’ of WWII or a similar topic that could relate to the museum’s new exhibition Home Front Heroines. Please see the exhibition blurb below. 

A fee for the talk and reimbursement for travel expenses will be provided. For more information, please contact Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum Programmes Co-ordinator Hope River at hoper@adc.govt.nz

Until recently, the unsung heroes of Aotearoa New Zealand’s WWII home front efforts went largely unrecognised. ‘Land girls’ of the Women’s Land Service, an organisation formed under the Women’s War Service Auxiliary in 1942, played a vital role in the country’s agricultural and food production industries while large numbers of men served in the armed forces overseas. As pressure on the nation mounted, the Women’s Land Service was responsible for feeding enlisted New Zealand and British citizens, as well as the 100,000 American soldiers stationed in and around the Pacific. A number of unmarried women provided skilled labour to farmers across the country, often working in isolation on dairy and sheep farms in the high country. Jobs included operating heavy farm machinery, driving tractors, shearing, milking, building fences and bailing hay. However, working within a traditionally masculine world was not always easy for these women in a society that questioned their moral intentions and physical abilities. The history of the Women’s Land Service in Aotearoa is explored in Home Front Heroines alongside the personal stories of noble, hard-working Hakatere Ashburton women who served their country admirably despite the challenges and discrimination they faced.