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The Cocksfoot Harvest

The Cocksfoot Harvest is a temporary exhibition that opens on 18 December 2020 and runs until 21 March 2021.

For decades, the harvesting of cocksfoot grass seed drew hundreds of labourers to Banks Peninsula.

Ripe grass stalks were cut, threshed, riddled and bagged by hand – hard manual work, carried out under the hot summer sun.

Akaroa Cocksfoot grass seed became known world-wide for its quality and was an important source of income for Banks Peninsula farmers. At its peak, between about 1880 and 1910, growing cocksfoot grass seed was an industry that rivalled the “big three” – wheat, meat and wool.

Akaroa Museum’s summer exhibition of photographs illustrates the process of the harvest and the men who worked to bring it in. The exhibition complements the permanent cocksfoot exhibit in the Land & Sea gallery, where a cocksfoot threshing machine, riddles, flails and reaping hooks are displayed.