New Zealanders are, generally speaking, a law-abiding people. Unpopular regulations concerning drinking or gambling are frequently ignored, but disturbances of the peace are rare and the few riots which have occurred stand out prominently in our history. Popular fancy has dignified some of these incidents with the name of “battles”, but very little blood has been shed in New Zealand riots and few lives have been lost. The causes of these disturbances were religious at first, and in later years economic. No civilian riots have occurred in New Zealand since the depression of the thirties – a sign of the easing of economic and social tensions associated with the growth of the Welfare State.