Communist Party of New Zealand records.
Scope and Contents
The papers which make up the core of this collection were donated to The University of Auckland by Wilfred (Bill) McAra a prominent member of Communist Party of New Zealand (CPNZ) on behalf of the ESPAL Society. The papers document the activities of the CPNZ from the 1920s until the early 1970s at both the national and local level. The collection includes papers relating to National and District Conferences, general and local body election campaigns, Communist Party study courses, the production of the People’s voice and other CPNZ publications, files of clippings and research materials and a set of original cartoons produced for the People’s voice by Frank Dromgoole.
ESPAL is an acronym for the Economic Social Political and Literary Society. This society was registered in June 1964 by Bill McAra, his partner Diana Wilsie and other members of the CPNZ as an independent organisation, partly in response to the Communist Party losing out on a number of bequests from supporters. It was felt a donation to the ESPAL society would be less likely to be contested than a bequest to the Communist Party of New Zealand (MSS & Archives 89/25, item 2/25). It was to the ESPAL society that McAra transferred the ownership of his Hayden Street House in 1965 as part of the process of gifting the property to the CPNZ.
The donation of records to the University by McAra either personally on behalf of the ESPAL society was also one of the accusations of
big shotism brought against McAra by other members of CPNZ in the early 1970s. McAra was accused of setting up a bureau consisting of himself and Wilsie, presumably this means the ESPAL society,
without the knowledge of the Party and dispersing Party documents to various institutions and individuals outside the Party (MSS & Archives 89/25, item 2/15). McAra defending himself describes the disputed archives as follows:
The so-called (MSS & Archives 89/25, item 2/15 - BH is Beth Hollis).
Archives are confined to a number (approximately a dozen) packages of papers. They were packed in black cellophane and put under seal in Auckland University for periods of 20 and 30 years. They include a very large part of my personal writings. Many had already been published. There are also some Party documents and some minutes. The University authorities are not aware of the contents of these packages. Sealed inside each is a list of contents. The only other copies of lists were in a file I handed to BH.
- 1924 - 1972
- Holmes, P. (Person)
- Dromgoole, Frank Swift (Person)
- Galbraith, Alex (Person)
- Pettman, Albert V. (Person)
- McAra, W (Wilfred) (Person)
- Rae, John (Person)
- Scott, J. (Person)
- Wilcox, V. G. (Person)
- E.S.P.A.L. Society (Organization)
- Communist Party of New Zealand. Auckland District Committee (Organization)
- Progressive Books (Organization)
- Communist Party of New Zealand (Organization)
- Gregory, Oliver Bennett Young (Person)
- Jackson, George Edward (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
3.5 metres (31 boxes)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Wilfred McAra on behalf of the E.S.P.A.L. Society, 1969
- Birchfield, A.J.
- Building trades -- New Zealand
- Civil rights -- New Zealand
- Communism -- New Zealand
- Communists -- New Zealand
- Local elections -- New Zealand -- Auckland
- New Zealand. Parliament -- General subdivision--Elections, 1966.;
- Schmidt, Hermann
- Scott, S. W. (Sidney Wilfred)
- Women and communism -- New Zealand
- Inventory of the records of the Communist Party of New Zealand, 1924 - 1972.
- Frank Rogers
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository
5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand