Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Radical spaces: New Zealand's resistance bookshops, 1969-1977

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posted on 2021-11-13, 11:44 authored by Simpson, Megan

‘Radical Spaces’ explores the Resistance Bookshops and their place within the culture of protest and radical politics in New Zealand between 1969 and 1977. The bookshops, which were set up by activists in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch aimed to raise consciousness about political issues by selling political and countercultural texts which had limited availability in New Zealand. These ‘radical spaces’ of the 1970s are closely examined, looking at specific political campaigns, the interconnections between the groups and individuals involved, and the role that the Resistance Bookshops played in supporting the radical political momentum that flourished in New Zealand from the late 1960s until the mid-1970s. For the Resistance Bookshops, distributing texts was part of the political process, it was recognised that there was power in ideas and print was a leading medium for which to circulate them. This thesis examines the role of print as a key part in political mobilisation. All radical political groups whether ‘Old Left’, ‘New Left’, feminist or anarchist used print to educate, communicate and persuade people to participate in street politics and the wider radical culture that was emerging in New Zealand during this period. The Resistance Bookshops provided a bridge between political groups and the printed material that helped shape the ideas behind individual campaigns. These spaces were instrumental in the dissemination of radical ideas and are important expressions of a ‘movement’ which placed prime importance on education as a political tool.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Macdonald, Charlotte; McKinnon, Malcolm