From the very beginning officers and members of the NZVS were very active in advocating for the humane treatment of animals and for people to take up a plant-based diet as a way of ensuring less animals suffered. 75 years advocating vegetarianism has seen vegetarianism and veganism get to where it is in NZ today.
Geoffrey Hodson was the founder of the NZVS (1953) and its president until the 1970s. He was also involved in setting up the Combined Animal Welfare Organisations of Auckland (1944). A report in The New Zealand Vegetarian journal of December 1947 states that the C.A.W.O. had taken up the cause of the introduction into all New Zealand Abbattoirs of the humane killer (stun gun). Geoffrey Hodson led this successful campaign which was supported by all the animal welfare groups operating at the time (including the NZ Vegetarian Society). He later assisted with the campaign to introduce of this method into Australia as well. He was of the opinion that if animals must be killed by people for food, then they should at least be killed humanely.
Geoffrey Hodson travelled extensively throughout New Zealand and other countries round the world from the 1940s to the 1970s giving public talks to hundreds of people about the benefits of a plant-based diet from both the health and humane aspects. He was a strong advocate for the humane treatment of all animals and for animal rights.
Sandra Chase (who later married Geoffrey Hodson) was also involved with the founding of the NZVS and the C.A.W.O. and was perhaps more involved with the C.A.W.O. and with young people, youth groups, school competitions, etc, for World Animal Week (4th Oct).
Conrad Jamieson, the 2nd President of the NZVS, was a staunch vegan with a great sense of humour and he gave many talks to all sorts of groups (including Rotary Clubs) on veganism (and vegetarianism) and influenced many people with his practicality and views on the humane treatment of all creatures.
The writing has been on the wall for a long time. In the 70s this article was published, saying “There was a growing awareness in the world that producing meat was an inefficient way of producing protein.”