Wilfrid Owen

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For the poet, see Wilfred Owen.
Wilfrid Owen
Wilfrid Barry Owen.jpg
1st Leader of the Social Credit Party
In office
Succeeded by P. H. Matthews
Personal details
Born 15 June 1898
Wellington, New Zealand
Died 9 August 1984
Christchurch, New Zealand
Political party Social Credit

Wilfrid Barry Owen (15 June 1898 – 9 August 1984) was a New Zealand politician and the first leader (1953–1958) of New Zealand's Social Credit Party.

He became the leader of Social Credit in 1953 when it reluctantly decided to become a political party rather than supporting other parties. Social Credit got a surprising 11% of the party vote in the 1954 general election, but it dropped to 7% in the 1957 general election. For that and for the criticism of Social Credit by the Royal Commission on Monetary Policy (which Owen had not attended, as he was overseas) he was criticised at the 1958 conference, and he resigned from the League shortly after.

Owen stood for Social Credit in Lyttelton in the 1954 election and 1957 election, coming third with 2,675 and 1,014 votes respectively; and in the Riccarton 1956 by-election. In the 1972 election he stood in Tauranga for the New Democratic Party, and came fifth with 288 votes (the Social Credit candidate came third). [1]

He was born in Wellington, and educated at Christchurch Boys' High School and Nelson College. He was an industrial chemist, and founded his cosmetics and toiletries manufacturing company Wilfrid Owen New Zealand Limited in 1938. He was a resident of Sumner, Christchurch, and died in Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch aged 86.


  1. ^ Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946-1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. ISBN 0-475-11200-8. 
  • Crusade: Social Credit’s drive for power by Spiro Zavos, pages 75–80 (1981, INL Print, Lower Hutt) ISBN 0-86464-025-0
  • Obituaries: The New Zealand Herald & The Press of 11 August 1984