Supply and demand in local government : Patea district, 1872-1917 : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at Massey University

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Massey University
'Local government' is "that element of the whole structure of government which is concerned essentially with the administration of affairs of a peculiarly local significance,"¹ A.H. McLintock (ed.), An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, three volumes, Wellington, 1966, I, p.841. The definition given in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand broad as it is, identifies certain local institutions as being outside the sphere of local government. These bodies include education authorities, domain boards and cemetery trusts.² ibid. I, however, deviate from this interpretation to include such institutions within the scope of a local government study. Domain boards, cemetery trusts and education authorities, like other units of local government, owe their origin, powers and functions to some New Zealand statute and, thus, cannot be omitted on that count. Also, in many instances, domain boards or cemetery trusts, and territorial local authorities, such as county and borough councils and town boards, were one and the same. This in itself, suggests that domain and cemetery management was an integral part of the local government system. Domains, cemeteries and schools were facets of the social environment to be provided by local authorities and cannot be divorced from local government as such. In the past, local government has not attracted a fraction of the attention from history and political science researchers that central government has. This lack of interest is partially attributable to previous treatment of local government topics by commentators and researchers. Those studies that have been made in the field of local government in New Zealand have been primarily concerned with the powers and functions of local authorities. This has tended to establish a stereo-typed picture of local authorities as dull, almost lifeless, parochial administrative institutions, levying rates on the community in order to perform fundamental but monotonous tasks such as road and footpath formation and maintenance, and the provision of drainage facilities. A chapter or two on local government is invariably found in local histories, which, while important to a total understanding of any country's history, tend to be very parochial and often tedious. Thus, the local government section is usually, likewise, 'bogged down' in local details concerning roads and bridges, reservoirs and rubbish dumps. Only recently have researchers³ K.C. McDonald, City of Dunedin: A Century of Civic Enterprise. Dunedin, 1965; Peter T. Paid, "North Otago – The Electors and the Elect. A Study of Local Government", unpublished M.A. thesis, Canterbury University, 1967; G.W.A. Bush, Decently and In Order. The Government of the City of Auckland. 1840-1971: the Centennial History of the Auckland City Council. Auckland, 1971; K.M. Mooney, History of the County of Hawke's Bay. Part 1, Napier, 1973. turned to another aspect of local government, that is, the personalities involved in local government institutions.
New Zealand -- Patea, Local government