|The Right Honourable
Sir Keith Holyoake
KG GCMG CH QSO KStJ
Keith Holyoake in 1960
|13th Governor-General of New Zealand|
26 October 1977 – 25 October 1980
|Preceded by||Sir Denis Blundell|
|Succeeded by||Sir David Beattie|
|26th Prime Minister of New Zealand|
12 December 1960 – 7 February 1972
|Preceded by||Walter Nash|
|Succeeded by||Jack Marshall|
20 September 1957 – 12 December 1957
|Preceded by||Sidney Holland|
|Succeeded by||Walter Nash|
|1st Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand|
13 December 1949 – 20 September 1957
|Prime Minister||Sidney Holland|
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||Jack Marshall|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament
|Preceded by||George Black|
|Succeeded by||Jerry Skinner|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament
|Succeeded by||John Falloon|
11 February 1904|
Pahiatua, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand
|Died||8 December 1983
Wellington, New Zealand
|Spouse(s)||Norma Janet Ingram (m. 1934–1983; his death)|
|Relations||Ken Comber (son-in-law)|
Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake KG GCMG CH QSO KStJ (11 February 1904 – 8 December 1983) was the 26th Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving for a brief period in 1957 and then from 1960 to 1972, and also the 13th Governor-General of New Zealand, serving from 1977 to 1980. He is the only person to have held both positions.
A member of the National Party, Holyoake is to date the third longest serving New Zealand Prime Minister (just under 12 years), surpassed only by Richard Seddon's 13 years and William Massey's close to 13 years; he was also the first to be born in the 20th century. He was known for his diplomatic style and "plummy" voice. He was also fondly (or mockingly) known as Kiwi Keith, a name given to him in childhood to distinguish him from an Australian child with the same name.
Holyoake was born at Mangamutu, a short distance from Pahiatua, a town in New Zealand's Wairarapa region, the son of Henry Victor Holyoake and Esther Eves. Holyoake's great-grandparents, Richard and Eliza Holyoake, settled at Riwaka near Motueka in 1843, and his maternal great-grandparents, William and Sarah Eves, arrived in Nelson in 1842. Relatives of the 19th-century secularist George Holyoake, the Holyoakes ran a small general store at Mangamutu, and then lived for a time in both Hastings and Tauranga, before settling on the family farm at Riwaka, following the death of Holyoake's grandfather in 1913.
At age 12, having left school after his father's death, Holyoake worked on the family hop and tobacco farm in Riwaka. His mother had trained as a school teacher, and continued his education at home. After taking over the management of the farm, he became involved in various local farming associations, something that increased his interest in politics.
Early political career
The Reform Party, which had strong rural support, selected Holyoake as its candidate for the Motueka seat in the 1931 election. The incumbent MP, George Black, held the seat, but died the following year. Holyoake was the Reform Party's candidate in the resulting by-election in 1932, and was successful. He became the youngest Member of Parliament at the time, at the age of 28. In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.
In the 1935 election, Holyoake retained his seat under the motto "Follow England and Vote Holyoake" despite a massive swing against the Reform-United coalition. In the aftermath of this election, he played a key role in transforming the coalition into the modern National Party. He very quickly gained considerable respect from his colleagues, and was regarded as a rising star in the new party. The 1937 electoral redistribution was unfavourable for him and when the boundary changes applied at the 1938 election, Holyoake lost his seat to a rising star of the governing Labour Party, Gerry Skinner. Holyoake had been discussed as a possible successor to the party's conscientious but lack-lustre leader, Adam Hamilton, but without being an MP, this was no longer considered an option.
In 1943 he returned to Parliament as MP for Pahiatua, having been lined up by National for that nomination. In 1946, he became the party's Deputy Leader.
|Parliament of New Zealand|
|1936–1938||Changed allegiance to:||National|
National won the 1949 election and formed the First National Government, new Prime Minister Sidney Holland appointed Holyoake as Minister of Agriculture. Holyoake was also was for a year (1949–50) in charge of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and was Minister of Marketing until the department was abolished in 1953. As Minister of Agriculture for eight years Holyoake enhanced his reputation as a level-headed good administrator. Farm mechanisation was encouraged, the "extermination policy" achieved nearly eliminated the rabbit pest. Dismantling of marketing producer controls was completed.
Holyoake twice went to London to re-negotiate price levels on meat and wool products, and in 1955 attended the Food and Agricultural Organisation conference in Rome. On his return to New Zealand he visited India and the Soviet Union to seek alternative markets for New Zealand, although his trip bore little fruit. In 1957 he led a delegation seeking to protect New Zealand's access to the British market without notable success.
As Deputy leader of the National Party, Holyoake was acting prime minister whenever Holland was overseas. In recognition of this was made a member of the Privy Council in 1954, only after the 1954 general election Holland made him the first person to be formally appointed Deputy Prime Minister.
First term: 1957
Holyoake became Prime Minister two months before the 1957 election, when outgoing Prime Minister Sidney Holland retired due to ill-health, and also became Minister of Māori Affairs on the retirement of Ernest Corbett. The election was won by the Walter Nash-led Labour Party by a margin of one seat. Holyoake became Leader of the Opposition for the next three years.
Second term: 1960–1972
In 1960 election National was returned to power, and formed the Second National government. The victory was attributed to Holyoake's skilful campaigning, particularly his attacks on Minister of Finance Arnold Nordmeyer's so-called Black Budget, which increased taxes on petrol, cigarettes and liquor. Holyoake's second term was typified by a long period of prosperity and economic expansion. However, increasing social liberalism and moves by the United Kingdom to join the European Economic Community challenged his Government.
Holyoake's government rewrote the criminal legal code, passing the Crimes Act 1961. One of the main features of this act was the abolition of capital punishment, though only ten National MPs voted for its abolition. His government also introduced a form of voluntary unionism, but the majority of industrial workplaces remained unionised. The Government was comfortably re-elected for a second term in 1963, losing two seats.
In 1966 Holyoake's Government sent limited military support to the Vietnam War. This decision lead to bitter scenes at the 1966 general election, although National only lost one seat. Holyoake appointed a rising backbencher, Robert Muldoon as Minister of Finance in 1967, although ranked him lowly in his Cabinet. In response to falling wool prices and balance of payment problems, Muldoon introduced mini-budgets with Holyoake's approval.
The Government was narrowly re-elected at the 1969 general election. Most of Holyoakes 'lieutenants' had resigned or died. On 2 February 1972 Holyoake announced his resignation, stepping down as Prime Minister to ease the succession for his deputy and friend, Jack Marshall.
When National under Marshall was defeated, Holyoake remained prominent in Opposition. He played an active part in the 1975 election, which saw National regain power again under Robert Muldoon. Muldoon appointed Holyoake to the specially created sinecure of Minister of State.
In 1977, Holyoake was unexpectedly and controversially appointed Governor-General by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of the then Prime Minister Robert Muldoon. The announcement was made by the Queen at the end of her tour of New Zealand on 7 March 1977, from the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia in Lyttelton Harbour.
This choice was deemed controversial by some, as Holyoake was a sitting Cabinet minister and former Prime Minister. Many opponents of Muldoon's government claimed that it was a political appointment. The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Rowling stated that he would remove Holyoake as Governor-General should the Labour Party win the 1978 general election, and openly suggested that he would have appointed Sir Edmund Hillary as Governor-General. This suggestion was in turn criticised by the Government, as Sir Edmund had backed Labour in 1975 as part of the "Citizens for Rowling" campaign.
Holyoake's conduct while in office, however, was acknowledged to be fair and balanced. In particular, Holyoake refused to comment on the 1978 general election, which gave Labour a narrow plurality of votes but a majority to National. Social Credit leader Bruce Beetham said Holyoake as Governor-General had "a scrupulous impartiality that confounded the critics of his appointment". His term as Governor-General was only for three years, on account of his age. Usually Governors-General serve for five years, but Holyoake was the oldest Governor-General to date. His term ended in 1980.
He died on 8 December 1983, aged 79, in Wellington. His daughter Diane married National MP Ken Comber.
Decorations, awards and memberships
- Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council
- Freeman of the City of London
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
- Doctor of Laws (Agric), Honoris Causa, Seoul National University, South Korea
- Sir George Grey served as both Governor of New Zealand and Premier of New Zealand in the 19th century, but Holyoake is the only person to have served in both capacities since the vice-regal post was renamed Governor-General upon New Zealand becoming a dominion in 1907.
- Richard Wolfe (2005). Battlers, Bluffers and Bully-boys. Random House New Zealand.
- Wood, G. A. "Holyoake, Keith Jacka". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- Gustafson, Barry (2007). Kiwi Keith: a biography of Keith Holyoake. Auckland: Auckland University Press. ISBN 9781869404000. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Geering, Lloyd. "In praise of the secular, part 3 of 4: The value of being secular" (PDF). Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "Official jubilee medals". Evening Post CXIX (105). 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Gustafson 1986, p. 32.
- Gustafson 1986, pp. 32f.
- McLean, Gavin (November 2006). The Governors: New Zealand's Governors and Governors-General. Dunedin: Otago University Press. ISBN 1-877372-25-0.
- Rowling: The man and the myth by John Henderson, Australia New Zealand Press, 1980.
- Ross Doughty (1977). The Holyoake years. Feilding.
- Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years: A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
- Gustafson, Barry (2007). Kiwi Keith: a biography of Keith Holyoake. Auckland: Auckland University Press. ISBN 978-1-86940-400-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Keith Holyoake.|
|New Zealand Parliament|
|Member of Parliament for Motueka
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Pahiatua
|Prime Minister of New Zealand
|New title||Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
Sir Denis Blundell
|Governor-General of New Zealand
Sir David Beattie
|Oldest New Zealand Prime Minister still living
4 June 1968 – 8 December 1983