Definition of Massey's Cossacks in English:

Massey's Cossacks

plural noun

historicalNew Zealand
  • Special constables drafted in to police mass demonstrations that took place during the general strike of 1913.

    ‘he'd been one of Massey's Cossacks during the waterfront strike’
    • ‘"Massey's Cossacks" were used to beat strikers into submission, including Frederick Evans, who died following a police beating.’
    • ‘It marks one hundred years since the Great Strike and striking workers and Massey's Cossacks coming head to head on Wellington streets.’
    • ‘It was the strike force of Massey's Cossacks that rode into town to teach the strikers a lesson.’
    • ‘They were hit by further strikes, similarly crushed, this time by “Massey's Cossacks.”’
    • ‘There were riots in Wellington when the first of 'Massey's Cossacks' rode into town.’
    • ‘Massey's Cossacks lost him votes in the town centre.’
    • ‘He rode with farmers, the so-called 'Massey's Cossacks', to break a waterfront strike in 1913.’
    • ‘The 1913 Waterfront Strike saw its biggest flashpoint in Wellington where Massey's Cossacks fought 'Red Feds' in the street.’
    • ‘This brutal display earned the specials the title of 'Massey's Cossacks'.’
    • ‘It shows a column of 'Massey's Cossacks' in Hanson Street in Newtown, Wellington, in 1913.’


Early 20th century named after the prime minister William Massey (1856–1925) and with reference to the constables' infamous baton-swinging horseback charges.


Massey's Cossacks

/ˌmasɪz ˈkɒsaks/