Since the early days of New Zealand the Presbyterian Church has displayed an interest in public affairs. Presbyterians have taken a strong stand in the matter of temperance and many have been advocates of total abstinence, 6 o'clock closing of hotel bars, and of total prohibition of the licensed liquor traffic. They have been strongly opposed to the secularising of Sunday and the extension of facilities for gambling. While protesting against social evils, they have not been lacking in positive social concern. In the early days of Otago when an attempt was made to lengthen the hours of labour of the labouring man, the Rev. Thomas Burns stood firm for the principle of the eight-hours' day. When the sweating evil arose in the depression years of the eighties of last century, it was the Rev. Rutherford Waddell, of St. Andrew's Church, Dunedin, and the first president of the Tailoresses' Union of New Zealand, who led a crusade against it. On several occasions during periods of industrial unrest and trade recessions, the General Assembly of the Church has advocated far-reaching social reforms, and in recent years has displayed much interest in the part New Zealand should play in the Community of Nations and particularly in the affairs of South-East Asia.
The denominational paper is the Outlook.
by James David Salmond, O.B.E., M.A., PH.D., formerly Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, Dunedin.
- The History of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, Elder, J. R., (1940).