Gerald O'Brien

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Gerald O'Brien
Gerald O'Brien, 1965.jpg
O'Brien in 1965
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Island Bay
In office
Preceded by Arnold Nordmeyer
Succeeded by Frank O'Flynn
Personal details
Born (1924-12-02)2 December 1924
Wellington, New Zealand
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Fausta O'Brien (m. 1956)
Military service
Allegiance Air Force Ensign of New Zealand.svg RNZAF
Years of service 1942–45
Battles/wars World War II

John Gerald O’Brien (born 2 December 1924), known as Gerald O'Brien, is a former New Zealand soldier and politician of the Labour Party.


Early life[edit]

O'Brien was born in Wellington in 1924. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in 1942 when he was 17 and trained as a radar operator in Harewood and Wigram. He did not see overseas' service as the Americans "had enough manpower in [that] area".[1]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1969–1972 36th Island Bay Labour
1972–1975 37th Island Bay Labour
1975–1978 38th Island Bay Labour

In 1950 he was a Wellington City councillor, and suggested to Frank Kitts that he should stand on behalf of Labour for the mayor and council; Kitts was the highest-polling councillor, although he did not win the mayoralty until 1956.[2]

He represented the Island Bay electorate from 1969 to 1978. In 1974 O’Brien as party vice-president was on the panel to choose the successor to Norman Kirk in the Sydenham electorate. Initially the three electorate representatives wanted John Kirk and the three head office nominees wanted the party secretary John Wybrow. O'Brien switched his vote to John Kirk, who got the nod.[3]

He was charged over an incident in 1976 in Christchurch, where he allegedly asked two boys back to his motel room for a drink. The charges were thrown out, and O'Brien maintains that it was nothing but an attempt by political enemies to "get rid of me". He also stated that he got more sympathy from members of the National Party than from his own party.[1] He was subsequently deselected by Labour for the Island Bay electorate.[4] In 1978, he was defeated as an independent candidate.[5] He ran against the official Labour candidate, Frank O'Flynn, and received some 3,700 votes at O'Flynn's expense, almost costing O'Flynn what had always been a Labour bastion.[4]

In the 1981 election, the Social Credit Party invited him to stand for his old Island Bay electorate, but he declined.


  1. ^ a b Romanos, Joseph (26 August 2010). "The Wellingtonian Interview: Gerald O'Brien". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Yska, Redmer (2006). Wellington:Biography of a city. Auckland: Reed. pp. 168f. ISBN 0-7900-1117-4. 
  3. ^ Grant, David (2014). The Mighty Totara: The life and times of Norman Kirk. Auckland: Random House. p. 420. ISBN 9781775535799. 
  4. ^ a b Henderson, John (1981). Rowling: the Man and the Myth. Auckland: Australia and New Zealand Books. p. 167. 
  5. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840–1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 223. OCLC 154283103. 

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Arnold Nordmeyer
Member of Parliament for Island Bay
Succeeded by
Frank O'Flynn