Author(s): Maureen Birchfield
This is the story of a spirited and courageous woman who was driven by a concern for the welfare of ordinary people. Written by her daughter, it has a liveliness and immediacy which would be difficult for an outsider to achieve. Connie Birchfield grew up in Lancashire - working in a cotton mill from the age of thirteen - and emigrated to New Zealand in the 1920s. She became involved in unions and the Labour Party as a hotel worker, and joined the Communist Party as an unemployed worker in the 1930s. In many ways she was a woman ahead of her time - a fine street orator, a candidate in several municipal and general elections, an activist in the working women's movement - much of this while bringing up a family with a husband away at war. Her local community benefited from her organising ability and she always spoke her mind - so much so that she was expelled from the Communist Party in 1957.