Temperance movement

  • Temperance movement

    Temperance was one of the most divisive social issues in late-19th and early-20th century New Zealand. Social reformers who argued that alcohol fuelled poverty, ill health, crime and immorality nearly achieved national prohibition in a series of hotly contested referendums.

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  • Page 2 – Beginnings

    Dawn of the New Zealand temperance movement, 1881-1893.

  • Page 3 – The no-license era

    The 'three-fifths majority' was a major hurdle for the temperance community, but they soon mobilised to campaign for people to vote for it.

  • Page 4 – Voting for prohibition

    The First World War period brought total or partial prohibition to several countries: New Zealand came within a whisker of joining them.

  • Page 5 – The decline of prohibition

    Alcohol remained an important issue after the war, and the prohibitionists slogged it out with the liquor trade throughout the 1920s.

  • Page 6 – Masterton under no-license

    The November 1908 licensing poll saw Masterton electorate introduce ‘no-license' and vote itself ‘dry’. Its 15 pubs closed on 1 July 1909, and remained closed

  • Page 7 – Further information

    This web feature was written by Tim Shoebridge and produced by the NZHistory.net.nz team.LinksAlcohol (Te Ara)Hotels and motels (Te Ara)Read about prohibitionists L.M.


  • Edger, Kate Milligan

    On 11 July 1877 Kate Edger (Evans) graduated with a BA in Latin and Mathematics from the University of New Zealand. She became the first woman in New Zealand to gain a university degree and the first woman in the British Empire to earn a BA

  • Fox, William

    William Fox headed New Zealand governments four times. A rug-puller rather than a bridge-builder, he was better at defeating governments than leading them.