Land girl’s knife, World War II
circa 1942, Maker unknown, New Zealand. Gift of Mrs Doris Buckrell, WLS, 2007. Te Papa
'Land girl' Doris Whiting used this knife when she was a volunteer for the Women's Land Service during World War II.
Many New Zealanders volunteered for organisations supporting the war effort. Others were 'manpowered' – directed to work in essential industries on the home front. Doris and her friend Madge Richardson volunteered to work on an isolated Wairarapa farm, leaving their dressmaking jobs in Pahiatua to do so.
Doris used this knife to slaughter sheep. 'We really did have to learn to kill ... we became experts at killing after a while.' After the war, she used the knife in her kitchen, almost wearing it away.