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Sound: the Clerk of the House of Representatives

Audio file

Hear Clerk of the House T.D.H. Hall describe his work.


The work is exacting, partly because of the long hours, and partly because of the strain to keep a big organisation running smoothly. I had, of course, competent officers under me, but I was responsible for the cleaning and servicing of the buildings, the provision of meals, the actual sittings of the House and committee and even for the care of the grounds outside. There were always problems coming up, some of which needed a prompt decision. One might take the hours. At 9 o'clock in the morning the government printer sent me the order paper for the day's business. That had to be checked, and then there were consultations with the government as to whether they desired to make any changes in the order of business. They had certain rights in this respect and the standing orders that they could not go beyond a certain point. Now the normal sitting of the House was to half past ten, and I was usually finishing the draft for the order paper for the next day's sitting between 11p.m. and midnight, sometimes much later if the House sat late. The longest sitting in my period of service, commenced at 2.30 one Tuesday and continued without break until 6 p.m. on the Friday. During that period I was never in bed and never had my clothes off except in the morning when I had a bath. There was practically no sleep except perhaps one dozed in a chair. On one night the division bells rang 55 times, that is, there were 55 divisions which had to be counted on various amendments to the bill that was before the House.


Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. T.D.H. Hall reminisces, 1952. Reference no: D247

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Sound: the Clerk of the House of Representatives, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated