P. H. Matthews

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Pressly Hemingway Matthews
Pressly Hemingway Matthews.jpg
2nd Leader of the Social Credit Party
In office
Deputy John O'Brien
Preceded by Wilfrid Owen
Succeeded by Vernon Cracknell
Personal details
Born (1903-02-21)21 February 1903
New Zealand
Died 25 September 1967(1967-09-25) (aged 64)
Takaka, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealander
Political party Social Credit

Pressly Hemingway Matthews (21 February 1903 – 25 September 1967) was a New Zealand politician and the second leader (1960–1963) of New Zealand's Social Credit Party.

He became leader in 1960 for the 1960 general election but the campaign opening was a disaster as he altered his address just before the opening meeting, and three candidates missed the nomination deadline. He was replaced by Vernon Cracknell in 1963. Zavos describes Mr Presley (sic) Matthews as an obscure (even to Social Crediters) leader.

Matthews had been a broadcasting technician and unionist in Auckland; he was first president (1934) of the Radio Workers Union and worker’s representative on the Arbitration Court. He was also a local activist in Orakei, and had been in the Labour Party for many years until he resigned in 1939.

About 1951 he moved to Takaka to farm, and formed a branch of Social Credit. He stood in the Buller electorate in the 1957 election and 1960 election, coming third each time; and also stood in the Buller 1962 by-election.

In May 1960 Matthews was elected party leader and his 1960 manifesto proposed policies such as introducing a Bill of Rights to limit the powers of Government, free travel to pensioners on Government-owned services outside of holiday periods, rationalising trading hours and holding a referendum on the liquor licensing debate.[1]

He died in Takaka in 1967, aged 64.


  • Who’s Who in New Zealand (7th edition, 1961)
  • Crusade: Social Credit’s drive for power by Spiro Zavos, page 81 (1981, INL Print, Lower Hutt) ISBN 0-86464-025-0
  • Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946-1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. p. 204. ISBN 0-475-11200-8. 
  • Buller electoral roll 1957: Matthews, Pressly Hemingway, Central Takaka, company director.