Michael Moohan

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The Honourable
Michael Moohan
Michael Moohan MP.jpg
17th Minister of Railways
In office
8 December 1957 – 31 August 1960
Prime Minister Walter Nash
Preceded by John McAlpine
Succeeded by John McAlpine
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Petone
In office
1946 – 7 February 1967
Succeeded by Fraser Colman
18th President of the Labour Party
In office
Vice President Martyn Finlay
Leader Walter Nash
Preceded by Arnold Nordmeyer
Succeeded by Martyn Finlay
Personal details
Born (1899-04-27)27 April 1899[1]
Garrison, County Fermanagh, Ireland
Died 7 February 1967(1967-02-07) (aged 67)
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Cecilia Hayman

Michael Moohan (27 April 1899 – 7 February 1967) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Early life[edit]

Moohan was born in Garrison, County Fermanagh, Ireland, in 1899, before moving to England, where he joined the Labour Party. He served in France with the British Army in World War I, and later emigrated to New Zealand in 1919.[2] In 1923 he married Cecilia Hayman; they had one son and four daughters.

After arriving in New Zealand Moohan became active in support of Labour in the Waimarino district. After, leaving Waimarino for Auckland, he was elected vice-president and later as secretary of the Auckland Labour Representation Committee. He joined Labour's national office as an assistant secretary in 1937, and in 1940 was elected as Labour's national secretary-treasurer.[3]

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1946–1949 28th Petone Labour
1949–1951 29th Petone Labour
1951–1954 30th Petone Labour
1954–1957 31st Petone Labour
1957–1960 32nd Petone Labour
1960–1963 33rd Petone Labour
1963–1966 34th Petone Labour
1966–1967 35th Petone Labour

He was the Member of Parliament for Petone from 1946 to 1967, when he died. He was the Minister of Railways in the Second Labour Government from 1957 to 1960.[4] During this time he also served as the Labour Party's President between 1955 and 1960.[5]

Moohan Rocket[edit]

On 16 February 1960 a special ministerial train dubbed the Moohan Rocket made a trip from Wellington to Auckland on the North Island Main Trunk, taking 11 hours and 45 minutes, or 2½ hours less than the steam-hauled Night Limited. As the train of a brake van, three first-class cars and a Ministerial car at the rear only weighed 147 tons, and was hauled by two DG class locomotives, the time was somewhat disappointing. The return trip two days later behind a single DA locomotive was slightly quicker at 11 hours and 34 minutes, though the superior DA could not then run through the tunnels north of Wellington and the two DGs took over at Palmerston North. The train reflected Moohan’s idea of a fast and comfortable intercity service later seen in the Silver Star and Silver Fern.


Moohan died on 7 February 1967, and was buried at Taitā Lawn Cemetery.[1]


  1. ^ a b "New Zealand, cemetery records, 1800–2007". Ancestry.com Operations. 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2015. (Subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ Paul 1946, pp. 117.
  3. ^ Paul 1946, pp. 118.
  4. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. pp. 88, 221. OCLC 154283103. 
  5. ^ Brown 1962, pp. 224.


  • Paul, J.T. (1946). Humanism in Politics: New Zealand Labour Party in Retrospect. Wellington, NZ: New Zealand Worker Printing and Publishing. 
  • Brown, Bruce (1962). The Rise of New Zealand Labour: A history of the New Zealand Labour Party. Wellington: Price Milburn. 
  • Rail: The Great New Zealand Adventure by Roy Sinclair (1987, Grantham House Wellington) ISBN 1-86934-013-2 (Moohan Rocket, page 82)
  • Who's Who in New Zealand (1961, 7th edition)
Political offices
Preceded by
John McAlpine
Minister of Railways
1957 – 1960
Succeeded by
John McAlpine
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Petone
1946 – 1967
Succeeded by
Fraser Colman
Party political offices
Preceded by
Arnold Nordmeyer
President of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Martyn Finlay
Preceded by
David Wilson
Secretary of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Allan McDonald