The Night of the Riots

Combines the section from Bruce Mason's The End of the Golden Weather describing the time of the 1932 Auckland unemployed riots with a similar section from Jim Edwards’ Waiting for the Revolution. Jim Edwards’ father was the leader of the Unemployed Workers’ Movement and Jim was present when his father was batoned down by police at a mass night rally at the Auckland Town Hall in April, 1932. For Bruce, this was the end of the golden weather.

As with Bruce’s account, Jim’s is a description seen through the eyes of a boy: Bruce would have been 10 or 11, Jim 13. Bruce’s description is of the reaction of a reasonably well-to-do Takapuna family to the events, and the personal effect upon him. Jim’s description comes from Newton Gully, the heart of the poor and unemployed, and is complicated by Jim’s growing awareness of his father’s failings. Bruce’s much-loved father becomes a special policeman to secure the city; Jim’s father does eighteen months jail for inciting lawlessness and taking part in a riot.