The leaders of the United Federation of Labour were unenthusiastic about the strike from the beginning, but felt obliged to lead actions that had been decided on through democratic processes. They believed the strike was a tactical mistake, in that it put the UFL at risk before the new federation had built up its resources. In spring watersiders and miners had the least economic leverage and farmers were free to enrol as special constables. The seizure of the wharves in Wellington and Auckland greatly reduced the strikers’ industrial power.
Auckland wharves during 1913 strikeWatersiders working on Auckland’s coal boats struck on 28 October in support of the Huntly miners. The rest of the city’s watersiders came out the next day following the failure of negotiations in Wellington.The Farmers’ Union began enrolling men from rural areas around Auckland as special constables, while foot specials were enrolled in the city. Mayor C.J. Parr and a group of businessmen formed a defence committee.
Wellington Harbour Board officesOn 24 October, strike supporters broke through the gates at Queen’s Wharf and tore down a barricade at King’s Wharf. They invaded the wharves and ‘persuaded’ strike-breakers to stop working.The government now adopted a suggestion from Colonel Edward Heard, the acting Commandant of the New Zealand army, who was reluctant to use military personnel directly to maintain law and order. Instead, Territorial Force officers in rural areas utilised existing networks to recruit farmers and labourers as mounted special constables.
The 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 anti-Vietnam War movement, ushered in a new era of debate about Cold War policies and New Zealand’s place in the world.
Following police warnings of civil strife, Prime Minister Norman Kirk informed the New Zealand Rugby Football Union that the government saw ‘no alternative’ to a 'postponement' of the planned tour by the South African Springboks.
In 1967 protestors laid a protest wreath in Christchurch on Anzac Day to highlight their opposition to the Vietnam War. They were subsequently convicted of disorderly behaviour. A decade later further controversy arose when a women's group laid a wreath in memory of women killed and raped in war. During the 1980s other activist groups – feminists, gays, Māori and peace activists – all used Anzac Day services to seek publicity for their cause. Some ex-servicemen and politicians also used Anzac Day ceremonies to speak out during the anti-nuclear debate of the 1980s.