Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake

(1904—1983) prime minister of New Zealand

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(b. 11 Feb. 1904, d. 8 Dec. 1983).

Prime Minister of New Zealand 1957, 1960–72

A successful farmer from the area north of Wellington, he entered New Zealand politics in 1932 as an MP for the Reform Party and spokesman for farmers' interests. In 1936 his party amalgamated with the United Party to form the National Party. He was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture under Sidney Holland (1949–57). When Holland had to retire in September 1957 because of ill health, he briefly took over as Prime Minister and Minister of Native Affairs, but he lost the election in December. He won the 1960 general elections, however, when he also became Minister of External/Foreign Affairs (1960–72). Holyoake was a leading Commonwealth opponent of Ian Smith's establishment of a racist White government in Rhodesia, and of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Firmly committed to the country's military alliance with the USA through ANZUS, he supported US involvement in the Vietnam War, and was responsible for the participation of New Zealand troops there. He was bitterly opposed to, but unable to prevent, British entry into the EEC (European integration), though he did manage to retain some preferential treatment for New Zealand products. He acted as Minister of State, 1975–7, and retired from party politics to become Governor‐General (1977–80).

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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