- Early Efforts
While we mark the starting date in the history of the present Guild as 4th January, 1904, it was on 14th October, 1898, that a few enthusiasts actuated by a desire to work in concert with fellow tradesmen, held the first meeting of Master Painters in Auckland. They formulated plans and founded "The Auckland Guild of Master Painters". It was not the first Master Painters' organisation to be formed in New Zealand, for those were the days when the population of the Dominion was more evenly distributed and Auckland could not lay claim to first place as a city and province.
The vision of those nineteenth century craftsmen for a strong, virile and continuing body of Master Painters was not to be realised for it was only four years later than the organisation was dissolved by decision of the few who had remained loyal to the once promising movement.
Not daunted by the disestablishment of "The Auckland Guild of Master Painters a small band of men of the brush who were "Masters" in every sense of the word, gathered on 13th November, 1903, to revive the languished cause.
The meeting was held at the shop of Mr. Thos. Impey, Grey Street, and it is on record that "the attendance was large and enthusiastic". It was Mr. C. W. Kayes, founder of the firm of C. W. Kayes & Sons, who moved, "That the Secretary take the necessary steps for the registration of the Guild as an Industrial Union.”
- Official Registration
The Guild was duly registered as an industrial union on 4th January, 1904, with a membership of 51, the application having been filed by Mr. J. Henderson who commenced in business on his own account in 1860. Little did he know that he had laid the foundations for the firm of John Henderson Ltd., now the largest painting contractors in the country.
We regard the date of registration as the starting point in the history of the present Guild and the Jubilee is being celebrated accordingly. We do not overlook the earlier efforts of the pioneers of our movement, however, and desire to record our appreciation of their work, which we recognise was responsible for the establishment, growth and effective organisation of the Guild in 1904.
- Early Progress
By 25th July, 1904, the membership had increased to 56, and it is worthy of note that at a general meeting held on that date, no less than 39 were present.
- The First AGM
The first Annual Meeting was held on 7th November, 1904. The number on the roll had increased to 58. Mr. Impey succeeded Mr. Bennett as President, and Mr. Tapper was elected to office as Vice-President. In a ballot for the Committee the sitting members, R.J Miles, J.F Benjamin, and A. McMurtrie, were successful. Mr. Crocombe who did not stand and was replaced by Mr. Kayes.
- Early Activities
The attendances were not maintained in 1905, some meetings having lapsed for want of a quorum. During the year repeated efforts were made to meet the architects but without success. They received a deputation from the Guild the following year, however, when the main subject of discussion was specifications. Some progress was made and a number of architects included a more detailed description of the work and the number of colours required.
- Early Activities (Continued)
In the annual report for 1907 the president appealed for an improvement in attendances. The loyal few continued to meet regularly and the work went forward. During 1907 the Guild became affiliated to the Auckland Employers' Association, a link which has been maintained to the present day.
- Early Activities (Continued)
The years passed with the membership and attendances fluctuating: the number on the roll was usually about 50. The stalwarts of the movement never failed to devote themselves to the cause which they had established, and the interests of members were closely watched and appropriate action taken to improve conditions in the trade.
- Death of WM Taylor
The first serious blow came in 1922 when the organisation lost the services of its able and tireless secretary, William Taylor (pictured). A signwriter whose qualifications made him one of the outstanding craftsmen of this day, Mr. Taylor proved himself to be a reliable secretary whose enthusiasm and consistent labours over 18 years inspired his fellow members to continue in their respective spheres of service. His length of service stands as a record. His loss was mourned by the whole membership.
The secretarial office was filled by H. E. Forrest who continued for approximately 20 months.
- A.H. Penny becomes Secretary
A. H. Penny took over the secretarial office from H.E. Forrest which he stayed in for nearly 17 years.
Taking up his duties in 1924, Mr Penny successfully steered the Guild through its most trying period, the depression years, 1929-34. It will remain to his credit that he stood by the movement in those days when few men would have continued in the face of such frustration. The membership dropped to a figure lower than at any time in the Guild's history.
- The War Years
Leonard Powley succeeded Arthur Penny as secretary in November, 1940. In recognition of his services Mr Penny was appointed President for the ensuing year, an 'honour which he richly deserved by reason of his tenacity and endurance during the trying period of his secretary ship.
World War II brought its problems, and the future of trade organisations in the Auckland Province was threatened. The Guild had not yet recovered from the depression. At the close of 1941 after purging the roll, the active membership was 43.
- Hope is restored
In 1942, despite the hardships of war, membership numbers grew and the movement gathered new strength.