Story: Housing and government

Dunedin workers' dwellings

Dunedin workers' dwellings

Workers' dwellings were built by the Liberal government to overcome the failure of the market to provide good-quality and affordable housing to workers in the main cities. However, their superior construction – to avoid slums-in-the-making – led to higher than expected rents. This, and their distance from inner-city workplaces, deterred tenants. The scheme was not very successful and New Zealand's first venture into state housing was wound down by a successor Reform (conservative) government.

These were among the workers' dwellings erected in the Dunedin suburb of Belleknowes in 1907. The scheme aimed to build dwellings that were indistinguishable from private housing and so avoid any taint of living in a state house. These houses met this objective and even in the 2000s it is hard to tell them apart from other houses of this era.

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Hocken Library, University of Otago
Reference: S11-148d

Permission of the Hocken Library Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. Further information may be obtained from the Library through its website.

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How to cite this page:

Ben Schrader, 'Housing and government - Immigration barracks to workers’ dwellings', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/32420/dunedin-workers-dwellings (accessed 18 October 2019)

Story by Ben Schrader, published 20 Jun 2012