A veteran of some of the most devoted support for New Zealand servicemen abroad in World War II has been commended for her work at a presentation in Hastings.

Helen "Tiny" White (nee Groome), who grew up in Central Hawke's Bay, was presented with a pin and a certificate of appreciation as one of a small number of surviving Land Girls yesterday.

There were more than 4000 of them in the course of the 1939-45 war, slipping into the boots and shoes of servicemen who departed our shores, leaving behind a shortage of men to carry-out essential work needed at home while they were away.

"They worked on farms and in other essential industries," said Minister of Veterans' Affairs and Hastings-based Tukituki MP Craig Foss.


"Many of these women had grown up in cities or towns and were not used to this kind of physical labour."

But most had gone unrecognised for the service, something the Government was now trying to correct by asking those who toiled at home with the New Zealand Women's Land Service, "manpowering" while the men fought overseas for their country, to step forward.

Some took up jobs such as engineering and making munitions.

Others worked on farms helping with the likes of the wool harvest to clothe the men abroad, or dealing with the meat to help feed the wives and children at home.