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Closing our centenary celebrations

Procession to Parliament 

In a triumphant conclusion to our centenary celebrations on October 22, PSA members,staff and supporting unions with flags, balloons and banners marched from the Centotaph to Parliament. The procession was led by drumming band Batucada. There were haka, waiata and rousing speeches from MPs who had assembled to greet the procession. The day was rounded off with a lively evening function attended by members, former members and staff, former PSA presidents, employers and MPs. It was a fitting end to a great year of centenary celebrations.  There’ll be a full report in the next issue of Working LIfe. For photos of the events go here and here and here.



The PSA is 100 years old this year

The PSA launched its centenary celebrations in Auckland on April 17 and the celebrations will continue around the country until 31 October.


The PSA grew out of the New Zealand Civil Service Association in 1913 when three young Education Department clerks decided to form an association to provide ordinary public servants with the support they needed.  Their actions followed the passage of the 1912 Public Service Act which created a politically neutral, career public service.


Over the past century the PSA has proudly represented public servants and fought to improve their working lives.  Many of the things it has fought for, such as superannuation, have benefited all workers in New Zealand.  It won equal pay for women, flexible working hours and annual leave and has helped to create a politically neutral and corruption free public service that is the envy of many countries in the world.


The PSA has grown from being a union for government workers to one which represents 58,000 workers in local government, the health sector, crown agencies, state-owned enterprises and community and government funded agencies.  


A banner for the PSA

PSA bammerA centenary banner crafted by Wellington textile artist Genevieve Packer(pictured) in the old trade union tradition is being exhibited around the country ( see dates below). Watch this video on YouTube about the making of the banner


Centenary website

PSA centenary websiteA special interactive centenary website has been launched to document the people and events that shaped the union’s history. A work in progress, it will include video and audio clips as well as online access to 100 years of the PSA Journal. Visit it now and contribute your own story or memory of the PSA.


Order a book before September 30 and be in the draw to win a Nokia Lumia 520 smartphone!

The State and the Union

The State and the Union coverTo mark its centenary, the PSA commissioned The State and the Union. In this candid oral history of the union from 1984 to the present, 26 PSA members and staff talk about the tumultuous events of the late 1980s/1990s. During those years the PSA lost half its membership as government departments were sold off or corporatised and was forced to change and rebuild.

From the blurb -
“I remember being in my office one morning and I got a call from Bill Birch [the National MP] to say ‘You‘d better get over here, they’ve introduced the state sector legislation and you might like to see the final rites of the public service.’”  So recalls former PSA president Colin Hicks about an event that was to plunge the PSA into crisis and change forever the public sector in New Zealand.
 Published by Steele Roberts,The State and the Union is being offered to PSA members at a special mail order price of $25 (includes p&p) – a $10 saving on the book store price.
To take advantage of this offer email

White-collar Radical

White-collar Radical coverTo mark the centenary, the Dan Long Memorial Trust commissioned a biography of  Dan long.

Dan Long was general secretary of the PSA from 1960 to 1976, and saw it transform from a gentlemanly professional body into a well resourced and highly effective trade union. He was also directly instrumental in broadening the range of PSA activities beyond immediate issues of pay and working conditions into the fields of human rights, internationalism and the social revolution of the late 60s and 70s.
Listen to author Mark Derby talk about the book on National Radio:

Read Mark Derby on Dan Long in the June issue of Working Life

Published by Craig Potton, White-collar Radical  is being offered to PSA members at a special mail order of $30 (includes p&p) – a $10 saving on the book store price
 To take advantage of this offer email

Events calendar

Banner exhibition
Auckland: Gus Fisher Gallery, 19-27 April

Wellington: City and Sea Museum, 1 to 12 May

Dunedin: Otago Museum, 22 to 26 May

Palmerston North: Te Manawa, 13 to 16 June

Hamilton: To be confirmed

Nelson: The Nelson Provincial Museum, 7 to 21 August

Christchurch:  Air Force Museum of New Zealand, 27 to 30 August