Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What you could, and couldn't, do on a Sunday

This, from the Wanganui Herald, 22 June 1905. The Curran Street property later became Ponsonby Primary School from 1922.
A Ponsonby constable who saw Ah Kin diligently hoeing among the rhubarb in his garden near Curran Street on a recent Sunday morning, charged the Celestial in the Auckland Police Court, before Mr Kettle, S.M., with a breach of the law, Ah Kin having worked at his calling on Sunday within public view.

Mr Kettle having heard defendant's plea of guilty, inflicted a fine of 5s, with costs, and gave an explanation of the law.

He said that tram-cars, ferry-boats, and hired vehicles could run on Sunday, but Chinese gardeners could not hoe their cabbages in view of people going to church. However, they could do so if it was not their calling. "But," added the Magistrate, for the benefit of the sorely puzzled Chinese, "it is very wrong if they do it for money. Keep a good high hedge between you and the road," was the final piece of Magisterial advice.
Update, 13 August 2009: Thanks for the comment below, Kuaka. I'll add the link to your blog entry on the law and Sunday cocksfoot harvesting for the readers. (Have a look at the New Zealand Journal, folks. Wonderful site.)


  1. Crikey, some were hard-liners when it came to the law!

  2. Coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago I came across a similar action brought against a Banks Peninsula farmer who had the audacity to harvest his cocksfoot on a Sunday.

    The Akaroa Express took exception to the "interfering legislation" and the busy-body policeman. The Akaroa Mail editorial, as reprinted by the Ellesmere Guardian, 2 February 1898, p. 3

    Article available on Papers Past or as post on my New Zealand Journal blog entry of 6 August.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Jayne. Thanks also to you, Kuaka -- I've included a link to your blog post up top. Cheers!