Vintage plough stays on straight and narrow

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 08:01 14/05/2014
vines Village Mother’s Day Market
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

STILL GOING: Ploughman Tom Fowler using his restored family plough during the New Zealand Ploughing Championships 2014 in Spring Creek.

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A Southland man travelled 12 hours to make family history at the 59th New Zealand Ploughing Championships in Spring Creek, Marlborough.

Farmer Tom Fowler from Tuatapere competed in the Vintage category with a family plough from the late 1800s this month.

Fowler only started competing in ploughing championships four years ago and was proud that his family plough got him to the nationals.

The plough, a Fowler 262, was made by his great uncle John Fowler in Mosgiel between 1875 and 1900 and painstakingly restored so it could be used again.

The father of his great uncle, also John Fowler, started ploughing in England and created the first steam-driven drainage plough.

He was awarded patent number 480 for Improvements in machinery for draining land, believed to be one of the first patents for the use of steam power in agriculture.

"I am honoured to compete using my family craft," Fowler said.

"A friend and I both worked to restore the plough and it worked wonderfully during the competition."

His daughter Adai Simpkin, of Wanaka, said she was proud to see her father competing, only weeks before his 80th birthday on June 27.

"I was worried about his legs, he is the only competitor in his class walking behind the plough all the way - the others all ride on a tractor."

New Zealand Ploughing Association president and event organiser Graham Gifford, of Rapaura, said the championships had gone off without a hitch.

"The weather was perfect and with no rain the soil remained in good condition for ploughing."

Marlborough man Ian Wooley was named winner of the conventional ploughing category. He will now represent New Zealand at a ploughing event in Denmark next year.

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