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Alcohol consumption

Flagon case
Flagon case circa 1960, Flight (1907–1986), New Zealand. Gift of Mr Geoff Kelly, 2009. Te Papa

This New Zealand beer-flagon case was ideal for rugby games, race meets, or any outing that Kiwi blokes felt went better with beer. The case cunningly concealed its contents because, in the 1950s, alcohol could be publicly consumed only in licensed hotels or clubs.

Alcohol has always been an important part of male social life in New Zealand. Yet, in 1917, the country restricted pub closing to 6pm – and in 1949 voted to retain the law. This continued the infamous '6 o'clock swill', which saw hotel patrons downing as much beer as they could before closing time.

It would be 1967 before pubs could open until 10pm.

Read more about the '6 o'clock swill'

© Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand.