New Zealand History

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The Great Strike of 1913: ‘Industrial War’ in ‘the Workers’ Paradise’

October 1st, 2013

Seminar presented by historian Peter Clayworth at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage on 2 October 2013. 

The Great Strike of 1913 was one of the largest and most disruptive in New Zealand’s history. From October 1913 to January 1914 a strike wave swept across the country, involving about 14,000 workers, hundreds of police and thousands of special constables.

In this talk Peter Clayworth gives an overview of the strike, with a closer look at events in Wellington. He examines some of the questions the events of 1913 raise concerning the nature of New Zealand society on the eve of the Great War. Peter also briefly discusses events being organised to commemorate the strike centennial.

Peter works as a writer for Te Ara the encyclopedia of New Zealand. He has a PhD in history from the University of Otago. He is a committee member of the Labour History Project and is currently involved in organising a series of commemorative events for the centennial of the 1913 strike. He is also working on a biography of Red Fed leader Pat Hickey. Peter hails from a family of mechanics in Stoke, Nelson, and is descended from a long line of West Coasters.

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