1947 Greymouth beer boycott

Page 7 – Further information

This feature was written by Simon Nathan with assistance from Margaret Hurst (National Library of New Zealand), and produced by the NZHistory.net.nz team.

A note on sources

The only accessible, day-by-day account of the boycott is from the files of the Greymouth Evening Star. While this is helpful in sorting out the chronology of events, the editor of the Star was clearly on the side of the hotels. His editorials opposed the boycott and suggested that the boycott was an example of malign communist forces.

Greymouth had a second paper, the Grey River Argus, which consistently took a left-wing line, and apparently supported the boycott. Unfortunately, there appear to be no copies of the Argus available between July and December 1947. If they do exist, they may give a different perspective on the boycott.

Can you contribute? 

We would love to hear recollections of people who remember the beer boycott, or have any record of the events. We are also looking for additional photographs. For example, we haven't been able to find any images of Paddy Keating, the Central Hotel, or the early Working Men's Clubs. Please email [email protected] if you would like to contact us.


The beer boycott is remembered in fiction as a background event in Bill Pearson's novel Coal Flat, which was based on the town of Blackball. Two extracts giving an impression of the events are available via the NZ Electronic Text Centre website:

See also:

Books and articles

  • James McNeish, Tavern in the town, Reed, Wellington, 1984
  • ‘Paddy, the penny-wise publican', Press, 6 Oct 1997
  • Jack Rolfe, In the club: a history of the chartered club movement in New Zealand, Celebrity Books, Auckland, 2000
  • ‘When brown ale was black', Greymouth Evening Star, 12 Mar 1994
How to cite this page

'Further information', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/greymouth-beer-boycott/further-information, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012

Community contributions

1 comment has been posted about Further information

What do you know?

Pat Suggate

Posted: 21 Apr 2011

With apologies for the lateness of these comments. Living in Greymouth at the time, I and colleagues joined the boycott. While it was on, we were told that there was a lot more money available for families to spend in thes shops - money that would have gone on beer. For a while after the boycott ended, counter lunch was slight or non-existent, but that, like the 7d beer, didn't last.