Riding upon the sheep's back : a business and social history of the Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company Limited 1878-1978.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis considers various aspects of both the business and social history of the Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company Limited. The history of the company along with its original mill in Kaiapoi, not only offers insight into one of New Zealand's most respected and successful woollen manufacturers, but also reveals its importance to the local, regional and national community. The main body is divided into two relevant sections: business and social. Section 1 presents an examination of the Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company's business practise while elements of enterprise history allow the company's management structure to be represented. The context in which woollen manufacturing was placed in New Zealand and how the company was situated within manufacturing associations is also studied. Section IT raises issues not examined within many business histories. Aspects of social history allow for the analysis of the company's gendered labour and recruitment policies. Indeed, within many manufacturing histories representations of the female workforce and the conditions in which they worked has been given little attention. Nonetheless, the discipline of family history has allowed the opportunity to examine the effects of company paternalism on mill town families. The practise of benevolent control was followed vigorously by company management in order to maintain a secure labour force. Paternalistic policies such as pension schemes, welfare funds and mill hostels, reinforced worker allegiance to the company. The fact that many families remained working at the Kaiapoi mill for generations suggests that these paternal policies were successful. Indeed, oral interviews indicate that employee loyalty is still strongly felt despite the company's demise in 1978.