This web feature was written by Ben Schrader and produced by the NZHistory.net.nz team.
Michael Joseph Savage biography (Dictionary of New Zealand Biography)
Fletcher Construction's photographic archive contains many interesting images spanning the company's long association with the construction of state housing in New Zealand.
Housing New Zealand's housing strategy
Christchurch City Library's brief history of state housing in Canterbury
Gordon Wilson biography (Dictionary of New Zealand Biography)
Gordon Wilson biography (1966 Encyclopedia)
Still shots and description Of the thousand houses here, seven have just been finished and one of the seven is the Paterson's new home. For the first time in her life the baby has a sleeping porch of her own and Diane is going to put her dolls to sleep in their own room. To have every bit of sunshine and plenty of flat land for playing is going to make a world of difference to this small girl and the thousands just like her who will soon be living here. With all the heavy furniture inside the shift is as good as over and to call this home is a proud moment for Diane and her mother.
Most of the Labour Cabinet helped the McGregor family move into 12 Fife Lane in Miramar, Wellington. The government's aim was to rid New Zealand of sub-standard housing by building 5000 new homes a year.
To tackle the housing crisis in the late 1930s the Labour government created the Department of Housing Construction. With the help of Fletcher Construction, 3445 state houses were constructed in three years.
Virtually indistinguishable from private dwellings built in the early 20th century, these two-storey semi-detached houses in Coromandel Street, Newtown, Wellington, were constructed as part of the Liberal government's workers' dwellings scheme.
This 1940s publicity photo emphasised the living room, with its fireplace, radio and comfortable chairs, as the focus for state-house family life. State Advances Group State Housing in New Zealand Wellington, 1947
Film clip: Gordon Wilson (1940s Government Architect) Still shots and description The house plans prepared allow for much variation in design while conforming to generous standards of space and equipment. These [points to a plan] are typical state house plans: two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a sun room. This [points to another plan] has three bedrooms: the living room, the kitchen, the meal space with large windows facing into the sun.
Multi-unit housing constructed in the 1950s and 60s was criticised for its use of low-cost materials and uniformity of design. This image of Porirua East was used in Housing Corporation publicity material in the late 1970s as an example to avoid in future housing schemes.
In this plan for the Maori housing settlement at Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt (c. 1947), houses are clustered around a marae, with the Waiwhetu Stream in the foreground. The complex subsequently built closely resembled this plan.