Paupers and Providers

Bridget Williams Books

Despite the image of New Zealand as a nation free from poverty and want, welfare – both public and private – has always been part of the fabric of our society.

In this carefully researched, challenging work, Margaret Tennant tells the history of welfare provision in New Zealand. Debunking notions of a 'golden age' of welfare services, she examines early debates about welfare spending and targeting, the notion of community responsibility for the needy, and the distinction drawn between the 'deserving’ and 'undeserving' poor. Paupers and Providers is also a compelling and sometimes horrifying portrait of poverty in New Zealand and its effects on ordinary lives.