This film outlines the efforts to transform the “barren” pumice lands of the North Island’s Central Plateau into arable farmland. Once scientists discover the magic missing ingredient that will make the soil more fertile (cobalt chloride), the serious job of burning scrub, ploughing and sowing begins. The film uses a traditional 'triumph over nature' narrative, but director John Feeney makes elegant use of montage and composition. Author Maurice Shadbolt, who spent time working at the National Film Unit, regarded it as "without doubt the best film to come from the Unit".
For each man the next few years will mean plenty of hard work – subdividing his farm, increasing its yield and paying off the mortgage – but with a farm he can call his own, a good house and a good lady to run it, well, life’s grand!– Narrator
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