In the late 1800s most plumbing work involved roofing and guttering work. With the arrival of sewers and town water supplies, it became apparent that public health issues could arise if unqualified workers did plumbing work. As a result the Plumbers Registration Act 1912 required all plumbers to be registered and to hold certain qualifications, be already licensed as a plumber by a local authority, or demonstrate competency as a sanitary plumber.
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: The Master Plumbers of Otago: commemorating the first 100 years. Dunedin: Otago Master Plumbers’, Gasfitters’ and Drainlayers’ Association, 1997
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