Organisation for disaster : the development of civil defence in New Zealand, 1959-1970
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
New Zealand's history is punctuated with the devastation wrought by nature. Yet, only within the last few years has the country possessed a permanent and comprehensive emergency organisation - civil defence - capable of responding to the ever-present threat of earthquake, fire, flood and storm. The present civil defence organisation is of relatively recent origin, though New Zealand's interest in the subject is not new, and dates to the early 1930’s. Previous civil defence measures were, however, either ill-conceived or ephemeral and, until recently, the obvious danger of natural disaster was consistently subordinated to the demands for protecting the country against hypothetical threats of enemy attack. Although the bulk of this thesis is concerned with the development of civil defence since the creation of a Ministry of Civil Defence in April 1959, the more historical aspect of the subject cannot be ignored, for not only are previous civil defence measures of significance in their own right, but certain features associated with them were to be perpetuated after 1959.