A Portrait From Life - Mabel Howard

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Introduction by Jocelyn Hollis, who announces: "This is the New Zealand Broadcasting Service. We present the National Wednesday Women's Session. This week, a portrait from life - Mabel Howard, M.P."

The programme consists of narration and an edited interview with New Zealand's first female Cabinet Minister, Mabel Howard.

Mabel recounts her childhood, moving to live with her grandparents in Christchurch from Adelaide after her mother died. She went to school in New Brighton, and then went to technical college. Her father became involved in the Labour League and she also took an interest. Her father was president of the 'Red Fed', the Federation of Labour during the 1912 Waihi strike. He then became secretary of the Canterbury General Labourer's Union. She went to work in his office, and during the 1913 General Strike she saw many cases of hardship and began to feel she should be helping people.

In 1919, her father was chosen to stand for Parliament for Christchurch South and went into Parliament. She carried on running his Canterbury General Labourer's Union office and his Christchurch South electorate office. She describes working with her father; the 1935 Labour victory; compulsory unionism; the 1938 election; the Christchurch City Council and Drainage Board; the 1943 by-election, and how she felt about entering Parliament.

She speaks about the 1946 landslide election, and her later election to cabinet in May 1947. She recalls being kissed and hugged. She was the Minister in charge of Health, and also Child Welfare. She talks about the workload of a Cabinet Minister, including Sunday morning electorate work and washing. She had an interest in "fancywork", sewing, and doll-making. She comments also on the demands of public life.

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Year 1954

Reference number 32257

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Biographical radio programs
Radio programs
Sound recordings

Credits Hollis, Jocelyn, Presenter
Howard, Mabel Bowden (b.1894, d.1972), Interviewee

Duration 00:32:08

Date 24 Sep 1954