A Social Constructivist Approach to the Study of Personal Motor Transport, especially the Motor Cycle, in New Zealand, 1895-1915

Reg Eyre

Reg Eyre, 2012
Abstract of Research

This is the abstract dissertation or Reg Eyre who has just completed it at Birkbeck University, London.


This research explores how the use of a social constructivist approach to technology using a sociotechnological methodology can be applied to the history of motorised personal transport, especially the motor cycle, in New Zealand before 1916. It has added to the limited amount of written material on the role of the motor bicycle in the development of motorised personal transport in New Zealand.

This work can be described as a ‘thick description’ case study with many historical, technical, legal, economic and sociological details. The research shows the effect of personal motorised transport on travelling between New Zealand settlements and the role of the motorised bicycle, which was unacknowledged and almost invisible in New Zealand motoring books.


A sociotechnological approach was used as a framework for this research with the study of New Zealand as the content. The use of this evolving framework is evaluated to show how additional concepts have been incorporated.
This case study has also identified the problems associated with roads and their development in New Zealand.


The building of roads and the spread in use of personal motorised transport, after the building of the railways, enabled members of rural communities to travel to the facilities of the larger settlements. A consequence of the bypassing of the small towns and townships by the railways was that road transport had to be used to service the farms.