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 staggering job of burning scrub, ploughing and sowing begins. It is dated by the requisite 'triumph over nature' narrative, but John Feeney directs with flair, making elegant use of montage and composition. Writer Maurice Shadbolt regarded it as "without doubt the best film to come from the [National Film] 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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