great depression

Events In History


The New Zealand Legion

  • The New Zealand Legion

    The year 1933 witnessed an unprecedented eruption of protest amongst urban businessmen and professionals in New Zealand. The most prominent manifestation of this protest was a radical conservative movement named the New Zealand Legion.

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  • Page 2 – Origins

    The Wall Street Crash of October 1929 is generally recognised as the event that triggered the Great Depression. In New Zealand, the effects of the crash were not immediately

  • Page 3 – The desire to 'do something'

    The New Zealand Legion was much more than a conservative protest against the coalition government. It was the focal point for a wide range of individuals, overwhelmingly from

  • Page 4 – Organisation and membership

    For the first few months after its February 1933 formation, the New Zealand Legion’s efforts were devoted to organisation and recruitment.

  • Page 6 – Internal conflicts

    Because the New Zealand Legion was such a catch-all movement for various ideas and grievances, it was inevitable that its inherent contradictions would surface.

  • Page 7 – Decline

    Internal divisions and resignations over policy had considerably sapped the New Zealand Legion’s strength by the beginning of 1934.

  • Page 8 – Further information

    Links and further reading suggestions relating to the New Zealand Legion, 1933-35


  • Savage, Michael Joseph

    Michael Joseph Savage, New Zealand’s first Labour PM, was probably also it's best-loved. His avuncular image hung in the homes of the Labour faithful for decades.

  • Holland, Henry Edmund

    Harry Holland was an Australian-born radical who led the Labour Party from 1919 until his death in 1933. Holland's socialism was described as 'emotional, not intellectual'. He believed socialism would overcome society's problems.

  • Lee, Alfred Alexander

    A charismatic ex-soldier, orator and propagandist, John A. Lee was a dynamic figure in the Labour Party from the 1920s until 1940, when he was expelled for attacking the leadership of M.J. Savage.

  • Forbes, George William

    George William Forbes term as prime minister (1930-1935) coincided with the harsh economic and social climate of the 1930s Great Depression.