Unemployed disturbances in Dunedin

9 April 1932

Depression riot in Dunedin, 1932
Depression riot in Dunedin, 1932 (Otago Daily Times)

During the ‘angry autumn’ of 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, unemployed workers in Dunedin reacted angrily when the Hospital Board refused to assist them.

Trouble had first flickered in Dunedin in January, when a crowd of unemployed besieged a grocery store. It flared on 9 April, when protesters threw stones at the mayor’s relief depot and tried to storm the Hospital Board’s offices. They were dispersed by baton-wielding police.

The Dunedin disturbances were replicated in Christchurch, Wellington and – most dramatically – in Auckland’s Queen St on 14 April