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Land Girls, Overalls and Killing Knife

Episode:22Te Papa Collection:History

Suggested curriculum levels:4 – 8

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Social Sciences: Continuity and Change Economic World

Description:In the 1940s women traded their fancy frocks for overalls – all in the name of the war effort. Riria Hotere learns the stories of two avid land girls.

Questions for students

  1. What does the saying 'A woman's work is never done' mean? What new meaning did the phrase take on during World War II? Why was the Women's Land Service created? What were some of the jobs the Land Girls did?
  2. Why are the overalls and knife 'significant' to Te Papa? What do they represent for New Zealand?
  3. What were some of the challenges faced by the Land Girls? How do you think they would have felt when men came back from the war to work on farms?
  4. What does this Tale tell you about how wars can change countries and their people? What might have happened if the Land Girls had not taken over farm work?
  5. What questions occurred to you as you watched this Tale? How could you find out some of the answers? Use the 'Key questions' response template to pose one or more questions for research and record information you find in this and other sources.

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Key questions