Richard Harrison (New Zealand politician)

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Sir John Richard Harrison ED (23 May 1921 – 5 September 2003) was a New Zealand politician. After serving in a number of capacities in the National Party, he served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1978 to 1984.

Early life[edit]

Harrison was born in Hastings, New Zealand, on 23 May 1921. He was educated at Wanganui Collegiate School and Canterbury University, from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. During World War II, Harrison served in the army, and saw active service in Italy. He remained in the army for several years after the war.[1] After leaving the military, he established himself as a farmer,[1] although remained active as an army reservist. He served as commander of the reservist Hawke's Bay Regiment from 1956 to 1957.

In 1948, he married Margaret Kelly, the daughter of E. J. Kelly. They had three sons and one daughter.[2]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1963–1966 34th Hawke's Bay National
1966–1969 35th Hawke's Bay National
1969–1972 36th Hawke's Bay National
1972–1975 37th Hawke's Bay National
1975–1978 38th Hawke's Bay National
1978–1981 39th Hawke's Bay National
1981–1984 40th Hawke's Bay National

In the 1963 elections, Harrison stood for Parliament in the electorate of Hawke's Bay, and was successful.[3] He served as a National Party backbencher for six years. After the 1969 election, he was made Junior Whip,[4] and was Chairman of Committees in 1972, and again from 1976 to 1978.[5] In 1978, he was elected Speaker after the death of Roy Jack. His Speakership ended at the 1984 election,[6] when National Government lost, and when Harrison lost the election in the Hawke's Bay electorate to Bill Sutton.[7]


Harrison received a knighthood in the 1980 Queen's Birthday Honours, two years after becoming speaker.[3][8] He died on 5 September 2003.


  1. ^ a b Gustafson 1986, p. 319.
  2. ^ Traue 1978, p. 135.
  3. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 203.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 280.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 252.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 251.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 203, 237.
  8. ^ "No. 48214". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1980. p. 39. 


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6. 
  • Traue, James Edward, ed. (1978). Who's Who in New Zealand (11th ed.). Wellington: Reed. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Alfred E. Allen
Chairman of Committees of the House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Ron Bailey
Preceded by
Jonathan Hunt
Succeeded by
Jack Luxton
Preceded by
Roy Jack
Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Sir Basil Arthur
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Cyril Harker
Member of Parliament for Hawkes Bay
Succeeded by
Bill Sutton