Posts

Showing posts from October, 2018

The women were marvellous

Image
In 1951 the National government used troops to run the waterfront after shipping companies locked out watersiders. The watersiders had refused overtime work in protest at a low wage offer. The dispute lasted for five months and grew to involve 22,000 workers including freezing workers and coal miners. The government announced a state of emergency, censored the media, seized union funds and outlawed support for the workers and their families.

Labour MP Mabel Howard called the emergency regulations “a war on women” as wives had to run a home without wages or support. It was forbidden to give children food. Strikers’ children at Wellington’s Clifton Terrace primary school were separated from their classmates at lunchtimes in order to prevent food-sharing.

And yet wives and children and the striking workers survived. “The women were marvellous,” was a common refrain afterwards. When asked to elaborate on how they were marvellous, many commentators dried up.

When Renée researched her 1986 p…

Commemorating - "Influenza 100"

Image
After four years of the most horrific warfare the modern world has ever known, the First World War's end was in sight. More than 10 million soldiers were killed and around the same amount of civilians. Of the number killed, 18,000 New Zealanders had been lost on the battlefields and at sea. In a population of just over a million people, the loss of 18,000 meant that no family was left untouched.

There was a feeling of anticipation tempered with feelings of loss, for our people returning home. A cruel twist of fate meant that any celebration was curtailed, as influenza swept through the world killing upwards of 50 million people. More than the war itself.

In a couple of short months approximately 9000 (over 2000 are known to be Māori) New Zealanders succumbed to the influenza and the associated secondary infections.

Auckland was badly hit with a death rate of 7.5 per 1000 people, making an approximate total of 1128 Pakeha and 35 Māori.

Waikumete Cemetery was the main burial ground …