Wairoa meat workers and the campaign to save their union: an oral history
The Public History Talks are hosted by the Ministry for Culture & Heritage History Group at the National Library of New Zealand. They are usually held on the first Wednesday of the month from March to November.
- Date: Wednesday, 2 October, 2019
12:10pm to 1:00pm
Free event. Booking is not required.
Taiwhanga Kahau — Auditorium (lower ground floor), Corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Wellington. Entrance on Aitken Street.
- Contact Details:
Saving the Wairoa meat workers union
Since 2010, the small town of Wairoa has been at the centre of the most bitter and protracted industrial dispute in New Zealand’s recent history. The agri-business giant, Talley’s Group, took over the town’s meat plant in 2010 and commenced a campaign to ‘draw the line on union influence’.
Drawing on oral histories this talk by historian Ross Webb focuses on the campaign by meat workers to save their union, the sacrifices involved, and the legacy of three successive lockouts on workers and the community.
Public History talks
The project was funded by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage New Zealand Oral History Awards.
These free public history talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. They are usually held on the first Wednesday of the month March to November.
About the speaker
Ross Webb is an historian with an interest in labour history. He is currently a PhD candidate at Victoria University, Wellington. His thesis traces the relationship between organised labour and politics in New Zealand during the long economic crisis of the 1970s and the neoliberal response to that crisis after 1984.
Before starting his PhD, Ross completed an MA thesis on freezing workers in New Zealand at the University of Auckland and has worked as a Senior Researcher at the Waitangi Tribunal. Ross is a member of the Professional Historians Association New Zealand (PHANZA), the New Zealand Historical Association (NZHA) and a committee member of the Labour History Project (LHP).
Wairoa, 2017. Image by Ross Webb.