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The Battle of Manners Street refers to a riot involving American servicemen and New Zealand servicemen and civilians outside the Allied Services Club in Manners Street, Wellington, New Zealand in 1943. The club was a social centre, open to all military personnel.
In 1942-44 there were many American troops, both soldiers and Marines stationed in New Zealand. Some of the American servicemen from the American South in the Services Club objected to Māori soldiers also using the Club, and on 3 April 1943 began stopping Māori soldiers from entering. Many New Zealand soldiers were in the area, both caucasian and Māori, and combined in opposition. Other versions are that three or four merchant seamen who had been drinking made no secret of their intention to clean up the visiting servicemen, or that Māori in a steak house objected to some "Yanks" being served first.
At least a thousand men were involved in the subsequent fracas, which was broken up by civil and military police. The major brawl lasted from 6 pm to 8 pm, with some brawls lasting for perhaps another two hours. Dozens of people were injured. At the time, hotel bars closed at 6 pm, the six o'clock swill, and inebriated patrons were then ejected into the streets.
News of the riot was censored at the time, hence much of the mythology about the event, including the claim that two Americans were killed.
It was twenty years before the finding of the Court of Inquiry was released. Postwar, the Club building was used as a Post Office, which operates to this day.