Warren Cooper

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The Honourable
Warren Cooper
Warren Cooper 1983.jpg
Warren Cooper as Minister of Foreign Affairs, during a meeting with Caspar Weinberger at the Pentagon in 1983
31st Minister of Defence
In office
2 November 1990 – 1 March 1996
Prime Minister Jim Bolger
Preceded by Peter Tapsell
Succeeded by Paul East
Personal details
Born (1933-02-21) 21 February 1933 (age 84)
Political party National

Warren Ernest Cooper, CNZM, JP (born 21 February 1933), is a former New Zealand politician. He was a National Party MP from 1975 to 1996, holding cabinet positions including Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence.[1] Cooper also twice served as Mayor of Queenstown, from 1968 to 1975 and 1995 to 2001.[2]

Early life[edit]

Cooper was born in Dunedin in 1933. He received his education at Musselborough School and King's High School. He later moved to Queenstown. He worked as a retailer, a painting, decorating and signwriting contractor, and a motel manager, and also became involved in local politics.[3]

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1975–1978 38th Otago Central National
1978–1981 39th Otago National
1981–1984 40th Otago National
1984–1987 41st Otago National
1987–1990 42nd Otago National
1990–1993 43rd Otago National
1993–1996 44th Otago National

He was first elected to Parliament in the 1975 elections as MP for Otago Central,[4] defeating the newly elected Ian Quigley of the Labour Party.[5] In the 1978 election, he successfully contested the replacement electorate Otago.[4]

Just after the 1978 election, his ministerial career started. He was Minister of Tourism (1978–1981), Minister of Regional Development (1978–1981), Postmaster-General (1980–1981), and Minister of Broadcasting (1981).[6] When Brian Talboys retired from Parliament in 1981, Cooper was appointed to replace him as Minister of Foreign Affairs; he held this position until the government of Robert Muldoon was defeated in 1984.[6] Later, in the government of Jim Bolger, Cooper served as Minister of Defence. Cooper remained in Parliament until the 1996 election, when he stepped aside in favour of Gavan Herlihy.

In the 1997 New Year Honours, Cooper was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for public services.[7]


Cooper was Mayor of Queenstown Borough Council from 1968 to 1975, and Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District Council from 1995 to 2001.[8] He was involved in a public argument with actor Sam Neill in 2000, over development in Queenstown.[9][10]


  1. ^ Trevett, Claire (21 April 2007). "Jim Bolger - regrets and legacies". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  2. ^ McKinnon, Malcolm. "Government and politics - Otago Association and Otago province". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  3. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 305.
  4. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 190.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 228.
  6. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 96.
  7. ^ New Year Honours List 1997. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Past Mayors of the QLDC". Queenstown Lakes District Council. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Former mayor and Sam Neill make up". New Zealand Herald. 25 May 2005. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  10. ^ Pavlova Paradise Revisited: Episode One Part 4


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Ian Quigley
Member of Parliament for Otago Central
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Otago
Succeeded by
Gavan Herlihy