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History of censorship - 1926

The Butcher Shop banned

Novel The Butcher Shop was banned before it even went onto the market in New Zealand. It is the story of the lives of a rich and cultured farming family in New Zealand and of the marital and extra-marital relationships of the family. However, according to the Board of Censorship in 1908, it was '...a bad book all round - sordid, unwholesome and unclean. It makes evil to be good. We are of the opinion it should be banned'.

Some commentators have felt the book was banned because of its frank portrayal of colonial farming life and that this might put people off emigrating to New Zealand. Others have considered the book challenged society by promoting women's right to be independent of their husbands and families.

As The Butcher Shop was banned by the Censorship Board which operated under the Minister of Customs, the ban on the book is no longer in place. The Butcher Shop was reprinted in 1981 by Auckland University Press and is available in a number of public libraries.

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The Butcher Shop book cover
The Butcher Shop book cover