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The 1912 Waihi strike

  • The 1912 Waihi strike

    On 'Black Tuesday', 12 November 1912, in the midst of a bitter six-month strike by miners in the small New Zealand goldmining town of Waihi, striker Fred Evans was killed - one of only two fatalities in an industrial dispute in New Zealand's history.

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  • Page 1 - 'Black Tuesday'On 'Black Tuesday', 12 November 1912, in the midst of a bitter six-month strike by miners in the small New Zealand goldmining town of Waihi, striker Fred Evans was killed - one of

Nuclear-free New Zealand

  • Nuclear-free New Zealand

    The sinking of the Greenpeace protest ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland in July 1985 shocked the nation. The incident galvanised an anti-nuclear movement that had emerged in opposition to both French nuclear tests at Mururoa and American warship visits to New Zealand. 

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  • Page 2 – Nuclear testing in the Pacific

    After the Second World War the United States, along with their French and British allies, frequently tested nuclear weapons in the Pacific region.

  • Page 3 – Ship visits

    The visit of the nuclear-powered frigate USS Texas in 1983 sparked protest in New Zealand.

  • Page 5 – Sinking the Rainbow Warrior

    In 1985 New Zealand was basking in its position as leader of the anti-nuclear movement. Then, on 10 July two explosions, set by French Secret Service agents, ripped through the

1981 Springbok tour

  • 1981 Springbok tour

    For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. The cause of this was the visit of the South African rugby team – the Springboks.

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  • Page 2 – All Blacks versus Springboks

    Since rugby went professional in 1995 countries like Australia, England and France have challenged New Zealand and South Africa's claims to be the two powerhouses of world

  • Page 3 – Politics and sport

    South Africa's apartheid policies and attitudes created obvious problems for New Zealand rugby, given the prominence of Māori in the sport.

  • Page 4 – Stopping the 1973 tour

    Keeping sport and politics separate was becoming increasingly difficult. In July 1969 HART (Halt All Racist Tours) was founded by University of Auckland students with the

  • Page 5 – Gleneagles Agreement

    The All Blacks accepted an invitation to tour South Africa in 1976, when world attention was firmly fixed on the republic because of the Soweto riots.

  • Page 6 – Battle lines are drawn

    The tour supporters were determined that the first Springbok visit to New Zealand since 1965 would not be spoiled. The anti-tour movement was equally determined to show its

  • Page 7 – Tour diary

    Select itinerary of the 1981 tour by the Springbok rugby team.

  • Page 8 – Impact

    In Hamilton the protestors occupying the pitch had chanted 'The whole world is watching'. The same applied to New Zealand as a nation. Some believed the tour was an opportunity

1951 waterfront dispute

  • 1951 waterfront dispute

    The 1951 waterfront dispute was the biggest industrial confrontation in New Zealand’s history. Although it was not as violent as the Great Strike of 1913, it lasted longer – 151 days, from February to July – and involved more workers.

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  • Page 2 – Countdown to confrontation

    New Zealanders generally accepted the hardships and restrictions of the war years as necessary in the fight against fascism. After the war, though, many began to demand a

  • Page 3 – War on the wharves

    With New Zealand’s vital export trade at stake when the wharves came to a standstill, the government declared a state of emergency on 21 February.

  • Page 4 – Division and defeat

    The watersiders’ militancy had isolated them from most unionists and Walter Nash’s Labour Party Opposition sat uncomfortably on the fence, denouncing government

Homosexual law reform

  • Homosexual law reform

    The homosexual law reform campaign moved beyond the gay community to wider issues of human rights and discrimination. Extreme viewpoints ensured a lengthy and passionate debate before the Homosexual Law Reform Act was passed 27 years ago, in July 1986.

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  • Page 2 – Setting the scene

    There is a long history of opposition to sexual activity between men and an equally long history of legislation that criminalised this activity.

  • Page 3 – Birth of the gay movement

    Social and political groups for homosexuals in New Zealand began with the Dorian Society in the 1960s. By the next decade, sexual and social liberation was in the air.

  • Page 4 – Reforming the law

    To bring about change in the law, the gay movement needed a parliamentary champion. It found one in Member of Parliament Fran Wilde.

  • Page 5 – Further information

    Further information relating to Homosexual Law Reform.

1947 Greymouth beer boycott

  • 1947 Greymouth beer boycott

    What would it take for West Coasters to boycott their beloved beer? Greymouth hotel-keepers found out in 1947, when an organised attempt to raise the price of beer sparked one of the most effective consumer boycotts ever seen in New Zealand.

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  • Page 3 – The boycott begins

    In mid 1947 there were rumours that the price of beer was about to rise. It was a decision that no publican wanted to take alone because customers might move to another hotel

  • Page 4 – Industrial action

    After the first week of the Greymouth beer boycott it became clear that the Licensed Victuallers' Association (LVA), supported by the breweries, was not going to yield.

  • Page 5 – Working Men’s Clubs

    A number of Working Men's Clubs had been established in major urban areas since the late 19th century, but there were none on the West Coast. The beer boycott provided a

  • Page 6 – End of the 1947 beer boycott

    By early December 1947 business was gradually returning to some pubs in the larger towns, but the boycott was still effective in smaller centres.

  • Page 7 – Further information

    This feature was written by Simon Nathan with assistance from Margaret Hurst (National Library of New Zealand), and produced by the NZHistory.net.nz team. A note on

The 1913 Great Strike

Waitangi Day

  • Waitangi Day

    Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. For most people, Waitangi Day is a holiday; for many, and especially for Māori, it is a time for reflecting on the Treaty and its place in modern New Zealand.

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  • Page 6 – Waitangi Day 1980s

    The 1980s brought changes in the way Waitangi Day was marked officially, as well as growing Māori protest.

  • Page 7 – Waitangi Day 1990s

    In the 1990s Waitangi Day events became a focus for protests about sovereignty.

  • Page 8 – Waitangi Day in the 21st century

    Waitangi Day in the 21st century has been linked more closely with New Zealand identity, and events have expanded beyond Waitangi itself. Protests have continued, and

Maori King movement origins

  • Maori King movement origins

    In May 2008 Māori gathered at Ngāruawāhia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Kīngitanga, or Maori King movement. The current king, Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki, was crowned in August 2006, following the death of his mother, Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

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  • Page 6 - A challenge to European authority?Pōtatau set a boundary separating his authority from that of the governor: 'Let Maungatautari be our boundary. Do not encroach on this side. Likewise I am not to set a foot on

Anzac Day

  • Anzac Day

    First observed in 1916, Anzac Day - 25 April - commemorates those killed in war as well as honouring returned servicemen and women. The ceremonies that are held at war memorials across the country, or in places overseas where New Zealanders gather, are rich in tradition and ritual.

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  • Page 7 – Modern Anzac Day

    Each generation of New Zealanders redefines Anzac Day to suit the mood of the times, but the last 40 years have been a time of much redefinition.

The Cold War

  • The Cold War

    Although the origins of the so-called Cold War can be traced back to the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, this intense ideological struggle between the Western powers and the Soviet Union really began after the Second World War.

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  • Page 6 - Protest and dissentThe end of the Vietnam War shifted the focus of the Cold War away from Asia and New Zealand's need for ‘forward defence’ diminished. These changes, together with the

New Zealand in Samoa

  • New Zealand in Samoa

    New Zealand was ill-equipped to cope with the Western Samoa mandate allocated by the League of Nations in 1920. The Mau movement's passive resistance culminated in the violence of 'Black Saturday', 28 December 1929, which left 11 Samoans and one New Zealand policeman dead.

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  • Page 6 – Stepping up the Mau campaign

    In January 1928 Mau policeman, dressed in a uniform of a purple lavalava with a white stripe, began enforcing a sā - ban - on European stores in Apia.

  • Page 7 – Black Saturday

    One New Zealand policeman and up to 11 Samoans, including Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, were killed in Apia on Black Saturday - 28 December 1929.

  • This case study examines New Zealand's involvement in the nuclear debate of the 1970s and 1980s, culminating in a breakdown of the ANZUS alliance in 1985. With

War and remembrance

  • War and remembrance

    War has played a defining role in shaping our nation since we first sent troops overseas to South Africa in 1899. As the centenary of the the First World War (2014-18) approaches, many New Zealanders will reflect on our nation's experiences of war and the impact of conflict on our society.

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  • Page 7 - Commemoration and protest

The Royal New Zealand Navy

  • The Royal New Zealand Navy

    Seventy years old in October 2011, the Royal New Zealand Navy is today an integral part of the New Zealand Defence Force. But its 1941 establishment was the result of a long process of naval development.

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  • Page 7 - New directionsThe RNZN’s independence as a service came to an end when the Ministry of Defence (created in July 1963) was reconstituted to incorporate all three armed services on 1 January

Biographies

  • Cooper, Whina

    Te Rarawa leader and woman of mana, Dame Whina Cooper spent her whole life fighting for Maori land rights. As an 80-year old she led 5,000 Maori land protest marchers as they walked from Te Hapua (in the far north) to Parliament, arriving on 13 October 1975.

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  • Parnell, Samuel Duncan

    Labour Day, a public holiday in New Zealand since 1900, is a suitable occasion to pay tribute to Samuel Parnell, who achieved fame as the founder of the eight-hour working day in New Zealand.

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  • Evans, Frederick George

    Fred Evans' violent death during the 1912 Waihi miners' strike made this otherwise obscure figure into a martyr of the New Zealand labour movement.

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  • Lee, Alfred Alexander

    A charismatic ex-soldier, orator and propagandist, John A. Lee was a dynamic figure in the Labour Party from the 1920s until 1940, when he was expelled for attacking the leadership of M.J. Savage.

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