The 1951 Waterfront Lockout is, according to Bill Sewell, "one of the more shameful episodes in New Zealand history." The reason is that the government of the time, under Prime Minister Sidney Holland, set out to destroy the self-assertive Waterfront Workers Union. In doing so, it suspended many of the rights and freedoms that we take for granted.
The poems in this new sequence, by turns nostalgic, angry, bitter, resigned in mood, but also satirical and humorous, are both immediate and carefully wrought. Although they do not give a full account of the historical events, they provide a vivid context and wry commentary, as well as something of the emotions, the preoccupations, and the flavour of the period.
|Title||The Ballad of Fifty-one|
|Category||New Zealand Poetry|