Peter Peryer

Combine Harvester

Combine Harvester by Peter Peryer

Artwork Detail

The combine harvester, or header, has a very significant place in the history of New Zealand agriculture. As one of the most adaptable industrial tools for the summer harvesting of animal foods like barley and hay, the harvester transformed the efficiencies that were achievable on local farms. By having a suite of detachable harvest implements frequently attached to a tractor, a wide variety of harvesting tasks could be achieved.

Farmers ascertained the best time to harvest and then employed a combine harvester to gather the crop. Only large farms could afford to own their own harvester and most employed a contractor to undertake the work. Consequently, one now rarely encounters derelict harvesters on rural New Zealand properties.

Knowing this history, Peter Peryer approaches this impressive machine as if it is derelict sculpture, separated from its original function and left as an artefact which is too costly or difficult to re-site. As evidence of past farm work, it becomes a melancholy reminder that agriculture in New Zealand has been transformed in the last century.

Incidentally, the drive shaft which once attached directly to a tractor’s driveshaft is the centre of the photograph, indicating that it had just been reversed into the site which it now occupies and then left to rust.

Combine Harvester
Peter Peryer
Production date
inkjet on paper
732 x 600 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased with funds from the Elise Mourant Bequest, 2019
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
On display

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