This New Zealand Peace and Anti-conscription Federation poster is among the personal papers of P.W.G. (Bill) McAra (1904-1989), a prominent member of the Communist Party of New Zealand.
The Communist Party was one of a number of political and peace organisations which unsuccessfully campaigned against compulsory military training (CMT) in a 1949 referendum on the issue. Although undated, the poster would have been printed in the lead up to that referendum. In place intermittently from 1909, CMT was last abolished under Kirk’s Labour government in 1972.
The sizeable McAra archives, which were deposited with Special Collections over a number of years, will shortly be more easily accessible following a lengthy archival processing project. McAra’s papers cover his decades of involvement with union, political and peace organisations, and the years following his expulsion from the Party in 1974. The material includes correspondence, manuscripts, posters, photographs, slides, clippings and ephemera.
Special Collections also holds the papers for the poster printer, Bob Lowry’s Pelorus Press, while Auckland City Library has the main photographic archive of the graphic designer, Reginald Clifton Firth (1904-1980).
Jo Birks, Special Collections
Lowry, R.W. (1912-1963). Papers. MSS & Archives A-194. Special Collections, University of Auckland Library.
McAra, Peter Wilfred George. (1904-1989). MSS & Archives A-139, 11/14. Special Collections, University of Auckland Library.