The Cobweb


A Torpid Neglect

“The greatest of evils and the worst of crimes is poverty.” – George Bernard Shaw

Back in the late 1960s, a time when there were few independent-minded women prepared to challenge the status quo, Joyce Dunmore was elected to the Palmerston North City Council – only the second woman to ever sit on that body. Her election coincided with a period of great change in the city, leading to numerous strains and stresses.

In her account of these years, Joyce Dunmore focuses on the issue of poverty in our midst, and especially on the city’s treatment of the elderly poor. She has adopted an unusual dramatic approach to her memoir, bringing the events to life through the use of dialogue garnered from copious diaries and notes taken at the time.

Less a history than lively re-creation of an era, The Cobweb sheds a colourful and at times challenging light, not just on life for a lone woman in politics brave enough to tackle contentious issues head-on, but on the tough realities of New Zealand local body politics.

Published in 1992.

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Joyce Dunmore


Out of Print




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