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Rationing, World War II

Ration Book
Ration Book October 1943, New Zealand Government, New Zealand. Gift of Alison Hutton, 2008. Te Papa

Resources were scarce in World War II, so rationing was part of life on the home front. Petrol was rationed from the moment the war began, with certain foods and clothing following in 1942.

Women usually managed the family ration books. These were flimsy, stapled affairs with coloured sheets marked S (sugar), T (tea), M (clothing), and X (stockings).

People were restricted to 12 ounces (24 tablespoons) of sugar per week, 8 ounces (16 tablespoons) of tea per month, and 1 pair of stockings every 3 months.

Knitting wool was also rationed. Patriotic committees convened knitting groups to make 'comforts' like socks, scarves, and balaclavas for the forces overseas.

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