A study of the group farm labour scheme movement in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Agricultural Science in the University of New Zealand, Massey Agricultural College
In New Zealand, the farm labour situation is somewhat unique in that one labour unit can care for a comparatively large amount of stock and land. The amount of non-family labour involved is small and a considerable proportion of farmers do not have any assistance. Although the need for general assistance is not very great, there has proved to be a need for assistance of a specialised type, involving short periods of work by employees of very good quality, and the concept of group employment of farm labour has risen from this need.
The earliest instance which has been traced of group employment of farm labour occurred in the Warkworth (North Auckland) branch of Federated Farmers in 1945. Single men were then employed by that branch to be available to members, but the organisation later came to grief. In 1947, at Sanson, near Palmerston North, the local branch of' Federated Farmers
started a similar organisation at the instigation of a Mr. C.
Eglinton, of Sanson, R. D. This organisation, initially a loose arrangement whereby one man would work on the farms of members for short periods, was developed by Mr. Eglinton into well
organised arrangement with three married employees of the branch, available to all members, living in specially built state houses. These houses were opened by the then Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Mr. Cullen, and it
was appropriate that the occasion was marked by some ceremony for this later proved to have been the inauguration of the first of a large number of successful group farm labour schemes in the Dominion.
The schemes, however, did not exist in any large numbers until about 1952 so that only comparatively recent!y have they been of any significance. It was recognised that they represented a new feature on the agricultural scene about which very little was known. The present study is, therefore undertaken in the hope of bringing to light the nature of group employment of farm labour, the extent to which it existed in New Zealand, and the contribution which it made to the farms concerned. In addition, the experiences and advice of existing schemes have been collected together in the hope that this might provide assistance in the setting up of new schemes. [From Introduction]