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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Golden Kiwi Lottery

The present Golden Kiwi lotteries (formerly art unions) came into existence more through a combination of circumstances than through any particular desire on the part of the Government at the time to raise funds for distribution to charitable or philanthropic purposes or objects.

The situation developed in 1929 from the visit to New Zealand of the late Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. His tour of New Zealand in the “Southern Cross” aroused widespread interest and enthusiasm. Those keenly interested in aviation seized on the opportunity and sought permission from the Government for £4,000 alluvial gold art unions, the profits to be devoted to the purchase of land for aerodromes. The Auckland Aero Club organised the first major art union and made a profit of £13,000. Other aero clubs followed and all made substantial profits.

Publicity given to the success of these efforts immediately aroused the interest of charitable and other organisations, and a number of these were also authorised to conduct art unions. All these efforts, which were granted three months of operation, were successful, the outcome being that the Government received a spate of applications from all kinds of organisations. Obviously, with a three months' selling period, all these applications could not be catered for and it was at this stage (in 1932) that the Government was forced to take an interest in the disposal of the profits of major art unions.

The Government then entered into an agreement with a private firm (Messrs Hammond and McArthur Ltd.), which was granted licences to conduct art unions for the purpose of raising funds for specific objects, the profits to be distributed by the Minister of Internal Affairs. This position continued until 1961. During the period 1932–61 the prize list was increased on several occasions, eventually reaching £10,000. Tickets were sold at 2s. 6d. each and ticket sales were unlimited. Until 1956 drawings took place at monthly intervals, thereafter at three-weekly intervals. The average annual profit for the period 1956–60 was approximately £220,000. In 1961 the Government decided to replace the art unions with the present Golden Kiwi lottery. This lottery has a total prize list of £30,000 (first prize £12,000) and is limited to 250,000 5s. tickets. The demand for tickets has exceeded all expectations. Each lottery is drawn when all tickets are sold. During the first 12 months of operation 76 lotteries have been drawn, and the profit was £1,360,000.

Publicity given to the profits immediately resulted in a spate of applications to the Minister of Internal Affairs for assistance from all kinds of organisations. As this placed too great a burden on the Minister, the Government decided to introduce legislation to provide for the distribution of profits and other matters relating to the operation of these lotteries. The Gaming Amendment Act of 1962 makes provision for a board of control to determine the overall policy in respect of the distribution of profits and also for the establishment of distribution committees. The Board of Control consists of the Minister of Internal Affairs as chairman, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Official Opposition, and three persons appointed by the Governor-General.