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New Zealand Seamen's Union, Auckland Branch further records and New Zealand Federated Cooks and Stewards' Union, Auckland Branch records.

Identifier: MSS-Archives-95/6

Scope and Contents

This collection contains both the records of the New Zealand Seamen's Union and the New Zealand Federated Cooks' and Stewards' Union from the 1970s to the amalgamation of the Unions in December 1989, as the records of these organisations were received together. The records include subject files, minutes and financial records.


  • 1887 - 1990
  • Majority of material found within 1971 - 1990


Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted

Biographical / Historical

The New Zealand Seamen's Industrial Union of Workers was formed as the Federated Seamen's Union of New Zealand in 1880 with branches in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. After a strike in 1890, the Auckland Branch, lacking in leadership ceased to exist and was not re-established until 1897. In the interim a short lived Seamen's and Fireman's Union was formed under the guidance of the Auckland Trades Council.

In July 1913, the Union's General Secretary, W.T. Young, was elected President of the newly created United Federation of Labour. Right wing elements in the Union, notably in Auckland and Dunedin, were opposed to Young's association with Red Feds within the Federation and were able to prevent the union affiliating with the new association. With the outbreak of the waterfront dispute in October 1913, the Seamen's Union inevitably became involved, partly because of membership sympathy with the watersiders and because of Young's influence. During the dispute the ship-owners managed to get a scab Seamen's Union going in Auckland, the only one in the country. The Auckland Seamen's and Firemen's Union was formed in November 1913 and existed for about a year, after which its members were gradually absorbed by the Auckland Branch of the Seamen's Union.

The Federated Cooks' and Stewards' of New Zealand were first registered as a Union in 1961.

In December 1989 the Union amalgamated with the Federated Cooks' and Stewards' of New Zealand and the North Shore Ferry Employees to form the New Zealand Seafarers Union.

Bollinger, Conrad. Against the wind; the story of the New Zealand Seamen's Union. New Zealand Seamen's Union, Wellington. 1968.


2 metres (18 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Library by the New Zealand Seafarers Union in October 1991.

Related Materials

Related collections of New Zealand Seamen's Union, Auckland Branch records are held at MSS & Archives D-8 and 91/3.


NRAM X1780

Inventory of the further records of the New Zealand Seamen's Union (Auckland Branch), 1946-1990 and of the records of the New Zealand Federated Cooks and Stewards Union (Auckland Branch), 1887-1990.
Kay Stead
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand