Denis Blundell

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Sir Denis Blundell
Denis Blundell 1934.jpg
Denis Blundell in 1933
12th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
27 September 1972 (1972-09-27) – 5 October 1977 (1977-10-05)
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister
Preceded by Sir Arthur Porritt
Succeeded by Sir Keith Holyoake
Personal details
Born (1907-05-29)29 May 1907
Wellington, New Zealand
Died 24 September 1984(1984-09-24) (aged 77)
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Nationality New Zealand
Spouse(s) June Halligan, ONZ QSO GCStJ
Profession Lawyer, diplomat
Military service
Allegiance New Zealand Army
Service/branch 2 NZEF
Years of service 1939–1944
Rank Lieutenant-Colonel
Battles/wars World War II

Sir Edward Denis Blundell GCMG GCVO KBE QSO (29 May 1907 – 24 September 1984) was the 12th Governor-General of New Zealand from 1972 to 1977.

Early life and family[edit]

Denis Blundell was born in Wellington to Henry Percy Fabian Blundell, grandson of Henry Blundell, founder of The Evening Post[1] and scion of the ancient Lancashire family.

Blundell attended Waitaki Boys' High School and Trinity College, Cambridge. There he read Law and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1929. He never practised in the UK however, and returned to New Zealand in 1930, practising as barrister and solicitor in Wellington. He was a partner in the Wellington law firm of Bell Gully from 1936 to 1968. During World War II he was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 2 NZEF, from 1939 to 1944.

Blundell was President of the Wellington District Law Society in 1951, President of the New Zealand Law Society for six years (1962–1968) and Vice-President of the Law Society of Asia and the Pacific 1966.

Blundell was a talented cricketer, and opened the bowling in first class cricket for Cambridge University as well as for MCC and Wellington.[2] He captained Wellington in the 1934-35 Plunket Shield season, taking 6 for 82 and 5 for 48 in the match against Otago.[3] He was later President of the New Zealand Cricket Board 1959–1962.

He married June Halligan in 1945, with whom he had a son and a daughter.

High Commissioner[edit]

Blundell was appointed by Prime Minister Keith Holyoake as High Commissioner for New Zealand in Britain and Ambassador to Ireland in 1968. In 1972 he returned to New Zealand.


Sir Denis Blundell opens Reevedon Home, Levin, on 18 October 1975.

Blundell was appointed in 1972 by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of her Prime Minister Jack Marshall to the office of Governor-General of New Zealand. The Leader of the Opposition, Norman Kirk, did not support the appointment, because of Blundell's friendship with the Prime Minister. At his swearing-in ceremony, the Prime Minister referred to Blundell as "a close personal friend over many years in the law, in the battle of the EEC and in many a battle on the golf-course".[4] Blundell was the first New Zealand-born and resident Governor-General, and his appointment prompted David Lange to say "it sort of made us somehow mortal. A man who was a lawyer and the son of a newspaper publisher could become The Queen in drag."[5]

Blundell was the first Governor-General to appear on the electoral roll, for the 1972 general election, although it is unknown whether he voted (under New Zealand electoral law a citizen is only required to register to vote).[5] In office, Blundell dispensed with the traditional plumed helmet, stating "I'd feel an awful Joe underneath one of those hats."[5] Instead, he wore a plain uniform, and usually only for visits to military bases.[6] His term ended in 1977.

Later life[edit]

Blundell died while on holiday at Townsville, Queensland, Australia, in 1984.[7] He was survived by his wife and children.

Awards and honours[edit]


Arms of Denis Blundell
Denis Blundell Arms.svg
Sir Denis Blundell's arms are blazoned:
Two branches of Laurel leaved and fructed Proper an Acorn Argent in front of an Escallop reversed Gules
Barruly Argent and Sable on a Chief Vert three Pallets Or in front of the centre Pallet a Torteau Gules
Dexter: an Owl Proper; Sinister: a Moa Proper
All on a compartment comprising a Grassy Mount from which grow New Zealand Fern and Thistles all Proper.
To Serve with Tolerance



  1. ^ "BLUNDELL, Henry Percy Fabian". Te Ara. 
  2. ^ CricInfo profile
  3. ^ Wellington v Otago, 1935-35
  4. ^ Margaret Hayward (1981). Diary of the Kirk Years. AH & AW Reed. 
  5. ^ a b c Gavin McLean (November 2006). The Governors: New Zealand's Governors and Governors-General. Dunedin: Otago University Press. ISBN 1-877372-25-0. 
  6. ^ "Sir Denis Blundell". NZ History Online. 6 June 2007. 
  7. ^ Obituary, Cricketer, November 1984, p. 57.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 46280. p. 5485. 3 May 1974.


  • The Story of Bell Gully Buddle Weir by Julia Millen (1990, Bell Gully) ISBN 1-86934-026-4
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Tom Macdonald
High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Merwyn Norrish (acting)
Terry McCombs
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Porritt
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Sir Keith Holyoake

External links[edit]