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Bert Roth Award for Labour History 2019

An essay by David Haines and Jonathan West entitled ‘Crew Cultures in the Tasman World’ has won the Bert Roth Award for Labour History, announced at the Labour History Project (LHP) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 16 July.

The award, named for the late historian, is presented annually by the Labour History Project to the work that best depicts the history of work and resistance in New Zealand.

The essay features in a book edited by Francis Steele entitled New Zealand and the Sea: Historical Perspectives, published by Bridget Williams Books in 2018.

The award was judged by Cybèle Locke, Claire-Louise McCurdy, Jared Davidson and Ross Webb.

‘The essay provides a “people’s history” of those who worked across the Tasman sea from the 1880s onwards’, the judges found. ‘This excellent article ticks all the boxes for the Bert Roth Award: it details exploitation and people’s efforts to challenge such exploitation; it gives voice to those whose stories remain out of view or marginal in traditional histories, and it is written in an engaging and accessible way.’

‘Haines and West convincingly demonstrate that controlling unruly maritime labour was a key pretext for those who advocated British acquisition of Aotearoa. Overall, this is a fantastic, beautifully researched, historically-grounded chapter, with juicy examples that give us a sense of people’s lives in the Tasman maritime world.’


Caren Wilton, My Body My Business: New Zealand Sex Workers in an Era of Change (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2018)

Other works shortlisted

Grace Millar, ‘Waterfronts and homes, 1900-1970’ in Francis Steele, ed., New Zealand and the Sea, (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2018).

Ian Dougherty, Pulpit Radical: The Story of New Zealand Social Campaigner Rutherford Waddell, (Dunedin, Saddle Hill Press, 2018)

Gerry Hill, The Cooks and Stewards Union: A Memoir, (Self-published, 2018)

Kim Workman, Journey Towards Justice (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2018).

John Wilson, Local Lives: A History of Addington (Christchurch: Addington Neighbourhood Association, 2018)

Peter Attwell, The Hill of Memory (Auckland, Mente Corde Manu, 2018)

Peter Clayworth, ‘An Agitator Abroad: P. H. Hickey, Industrial Unionism, and Socialism in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, 1900–1930’, in Greg Patmore and Shelton Stromquist, Frontiers of Labor: Comparative Histories of the United States and Australia, (Illinois: Illinois University Press 2018)

Alexander Turnbull Library, James Cox, Life 100 Years Ago tweets from a labourers’ diary in real time: and actual account here:

Heperi Mita (director). Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Film Industry, 2018

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