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1951 Television (Full Length) – 2001 Documentary Captioned

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In 1951, New Zealand temporarily became a police state. Civil liberties were curtailed, freedom of speech denied, and people could be imprisoned for providing food to those involved. This documentary tells the story of the infamous lockout of waterside workers, and the extended nationwide strike which followed. There are interviews with many who were involved, from workers to journalists. 1951 won Best Documentary at the 2002 New Zealand Television Awards, and John Bates (50 Years of Television) was named Best Documentary Director. 

I saw families broken up, I saw brother fighting brother, marriages breaking up, the whole thing was a very very bitter pill to swallow. And then to branded as an enemy of the country when only just a few years earlier they waved flags and called you a hero, was pretty difficult to take.
– Lyttelton Watersider Baden Norris

Produced by

Bates Productions


Bates Productions


Made with funding from NZ On Air

Archival material contained within this programme was sourced from NZ Television Archive, NZ Film Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library, Oral History Centre, Sound Archive, NZ Herald, Otago Daily Times, Christchurch Press, Dick Scott Collection, National Film Unit Films and Archives New Zealand