Joe Walding and Labour's physical welfare ideal : the establishment of the Ministry of Recreation and Sport, 1972-5 : thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts in History at Massey University
This thesis examines the events surrounding the establishment of a government agency in New Zealand, the Ministry of Recreation and Sport and its advisory Council for Recreation and Sport under the third Labour Government 1972 to 1975. It seeks to place the initiative in the broader context of the social issues that were highlighted by the Ministry's establishment. Those issues included the role of politics in sport, the belief that recreation belonged to the private rather then public domain, the relevance of mass national recreation, and the appropriate public financial assistance for national, regional and local sports organisations. The Labour Party had a long-standing belief that part of government's social welfare responsibilities was to assist voluntary organisations in the promotion and administration of physical fitness. This physical welfare ideal reached back at least to the Savage Government which established the Physical Welfare and Recreation Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs. In the years between Labour administrations, the National Party, opted for a much more limited commitment to recreation and sport, based on its belief that politics and sport should remain separate. National Governments between 1949 and 1972 made very restricted use of the Physical Welfare and Recreation Branch.