Business and Labour History Group


Led by Associate Professor Simon Mowatt, the Business and Labour History Group highlights the contribution of historical studies and labour studies to critical scholarship and contemporary policy. The Group supports the development of business history broadly across AUT, with members from several faculties and across departments, and is a key partner in the History@AUT initiative.

Group Objectives

The Business and Labour History Group has five main approaches to business and labour history:

  1. Historical case studies of organisational development and innovation, including studies of technological and industrial change;
  2. Labour history concerning employment relations, working class culture, trade unions, non-union employee representation, political parties of labour and international comparative studies in all of these areas;
  3. Historical analysis of public policy development in employment relations, labour law, occupational health and safety, gender and diversity;
  4. Historical research in economics, employment relations, labour law, occupational health and safety, marketing, management, accountancy, finance and other business-based disciplines; and
  5. The development of historical perspectives of long-term trends in business practices and ideology, including patterns of work and organisation and labour relations, as a contribution to understanding where we are today, and why.

Ongoing Projects

The Causes of Modern Economic Growth
Description: This project entails conducting a survey of the approaches taken by economic historians to explaining the causes of modern economic growth. The project has several facts including building a real-wage series for New Zealand for the periods from 1840 to 1914. A recent working paper has looked at the gradual emergence of monetary policy in New Zealand.
Team: Geoffrey Brooke, Antony Endres (UoA) and Alan Rogers (UoA).

Public Health Conditions in the Late Nineteenth Century
Description: Statistics concerning soldiers measurements are used as indicative data to understand standards of living. This project takes a new approach to examine the data and draws new conclusions about conditions towards the end of the nineteenth century. An empirical investigation has been conducted to examine body sizes of New Zealand soldiers who served in the Second Boer war.
Team: Geoffrey Brooke and Lydia Cheung.

Labour in Historical Context
Description: This collaborative project with other NZ Work Research groups explores the historical roots and implications of changing labour practices.
Team: Fiona Hurd, David Williamson, Erling Rasmussen, Candice Harris, Katherine Ravenswood, Simon Mowatt and Howard Cox (University of Worcester, UK).


Ann-Marie KennedyCarol Neill
David WilliamsonEdwina Pio
Erling RasmussenFelicity Lamm
Fiona HurdGeoffrey Brooke
Gina XuJulie Douglas
Kate Nicholls Keri Mills
Lisa NguyenPaul Moon
Paul Woodfield Peter Gilderdale
Peter SkillingRob Allen
Simon Mowatt  (Lead researcher) Julienne Molineaux

If you would like to become an actively involved research member please contact us.