Background:"Labour Day commemorates the struggle for an eight-hour working day. New Zealand workers were among the first in the world to claim this right when, in 1840, the carpenter Samuel Parnell won an eight-hour day in Wellington. Labour Day was first celebrated in New Zealand on 28 October 1890, when several thousand trade union members and supporters attended parades in the main centres. Government employees were given the day off to attend the parades and many businesses closed for at least part of the day." Source: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/labour-day
LABOUR DAY at The Thames:
1915 Procession - Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19151202-44-3
Some things never change! In 1920, came the announcement in the local newspaper that rubbish days in the borough would be one day later than scheduled due to Labour Day.
By the 1930s, it appears that retailers were having a few Labour Day Specials, even New Zealand Railway was tempting the excursionists with cheap fares! In 1930, the town held a procession which started at the Royal Hotel and went to the Thames High School in Sealey Street - where a large carnival and sports day was held.THAMES STAR, 26 SEPTEMBER 1930
Throughout the 1930s, the Labour Day Committee organised a celebratory day. In 1937, a children's sports day was held at Victoria Park, and the Kings Theatre had an evening programme of entertainment. There were prizes for decorated bikes - which was won by M Wilton. The most original costume was awarded to D McKee. The best decorated pram / go-cart / trolley went to L McKee. C Barlow won the best children's pet display. Best dressed doll went to Jane Burgess. Awards were also made for runners-up in most categories.
When did Labour Day celebrations cease at The Thames?
A question I am not yet sure of!!! During the 1940s, there were Labour Day Balls held, and a few parades. If you can remember when the last commemoration was held, please let me know.
What is evident is that Thamesites of old, took the opportunity to relax and take time out from their usual routine. They delighted in using the day for a trip by boat or train to Hamilton or Auckland. While commemorating the true meaning of Labour Day!