Story: Family welfare

The deserving poor

The deserving poor

In the 19th century families in crisis had to depend on charity and sometimes had to beg for money. Jack and Rudolf Lousich were photographed in Kumara, on the West Coast, collecting donations for their widowed father, Louis Lousich, who had been blinded and disabled in a mine explosion in 1884. At that time there was no accident compensation for workers and no invalid or unemployment benefits. Lousich is presented as 'deserving' – a worker, robbed of his job, with five children to support. During the 20th century the New Zealand state increasingly provided financial support for families in similar circumstances.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Steffano Webb Collection (PAColl-3061)
Reference: 1/2-049635-G
Photograph by Steffano Francis Webb

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Maureen Baker and Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Family welfare - Family autonomy and state policy', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 May 2022)

Story by Maureen Baker and Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 29 Jun 2018