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A kind of equality: Labour and the Maori people 1935-1949.

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Master’s thesis, University of Auckland, ,

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Orange explores the intersection of labour dynamics and the Māori community from 1935 to 1949, providing an understanding of the socio-political landscape during a crucial period in New Zealand's history.

The thesis explores the interactions between the First Labour Party’s policies and the Māori people, shedding light on how political decisions impacted Māori communities in the mid-20th century. As Orange notes, before 1935, the Labour Party in New Zealand had developed a policy aimed at the Māori population, pledging enhanced participation in government and community life. The Labour government’s approach to Māori affairs leaned towards a form of separate development for some Māori groups, which Orange argues marks it out from the long running focus on assimilation. As the thesis argues, this approach shifted due to two key factors: the impact of the Second World War and the broader benefits arising from Labour’s general legislative measures. By the late 1940s, the thesis explains, the Labour Party had adopted a policy focused on integrating the Māori into the mainstream of New Zealand society, continuing a trend of various assimilation efforts by the government since 1840. This near 300 page master’s thesis provides a significant overview of the period in question, exploring the tensions that come from such a dramatic change in policy and approach. The chapter on housing provides an overview of the First Labour Party’s housing policies and schemes, a broader historical context that details Māori housing conditions and ownership statistics at the time, and provides information on the political debates surrounding these. Orange’s work offers a detailed and nuanced perspective on a transformative era in New Zealand’s history, with the section on housing making it a valuable resource for research into this period.

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