Corn and Hedge Mazes - grow your entertainment!
A corn or maize maze is a maze cut out of a corn field. They have become popular family attractions in New Zealand, and a way for farms to create tourist income. Many are based on artistic designs such as characters from movies or have themes, such as the Haunted Horror 'Corn Evil' mazes in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Manawatu. Most mazes have a path which goes all around the whole pattern, either to end in the middle or to come back out again.
A hedge maze is an outdoor garden maze or labyrinth in which the walls or dividers between passages are made from vertical hedges. One of the most famous hedge mazes is Hampton Court in England, planted somewhere between 1689 and 1695!
The largest corn maze in the world is located in Dixon, California and is 45 acres (180,000m squared) in area as of 2010. Although this corn maze may hold distinction as the world's largest corn maze, Adventure Acres corn maze in Bellbrook, Ohio, just outside of Dayton, Ohio consists of 62 acres (250,000 m squared) of corn maze with 8.5 miles (13.7 km) of trails.
Creating a maize maze :: Ben Tothill of Tothills Mazes, Christchurch
Creating a corn maze is harder than you might think. The design is the most difficult part. It takes many hours of work to design a maze that is both fun, challenging, not too long nor too short to conquer and results in actually becoming disorientated and getting lost. I usually start by taking a world famous maze and adapting it. That way there is a story to attach to the experience. However those other mazes are created to different physical dimensions, so mathematically it can be very challenging to adopt an existing maze. A corn maze is also appealing if the shape is attractive, and this often creates challenges in the application of principles of mathematical geometry. For example, it is not possible for all the ‘spokes’ of a circular maze to radiate from the centre of the pattern. It is necessary to offset the radiating ‘spokes’ in order to ensure that the maze challenge ‘works’, but without the visual effect of appearing as if the spokes don’t radiate from the centre. See the pattern of our lawn labyrinth for example. You will note that none of the spokes run from or directly through the dead centre.
The pattern is created on graph paper, with a pencil, ruler, drawing compass and an eraser. Once the pattern is perfected to scale, it is then marked out in the young corn paddock using marking paint. This requires some precision (using tape measures) because if a mistake is made in the translation of the pattern onto the ground, then the whole effect and challenge of the maze can be lost.
When the corn plants are about the height of a gumboot, we cut the pattern out with a hoe. This can be labourious, but again, a mistake in cutting a path can ruin the challenge and effect of the maze, so it is important to get it right.
The corn can grow at surprising rates. For example in a month the corn can grow up to 4 cm in a single day under the right growing conditions. That is a staggering metre in less than four weeks. So a delay in marking out or hoeing at the right time, can create a whole lot of extra work.
New Zealand Mazes
aMAZEme - Rotorua
A fantastic outing for the family - aMAZEme features a giant hedge maze plus other activities. Try to find the centre of the maze by following 1.4km of winding hedge-lined pathways. You'll get lost and have loads of laughs! There are a series of escape doors through the maze so you can always make a quick exit. While you're here, visit our aviary, small animal petting enclosure and Monarch butterfly house. Toilets on-site, open 7 days, weather permitting. Located very close to Rotorua, 500m off State Highway 5, next to Agrodome.