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Sir Keith Holyoake

Sir Keith Holyoake

Towards a Political Biography

Edited by Margaret Clark


Sir Keith Holyoake was one of New Zealand's longest serving Prime Ministers, and led the National Party to four election victories in 1960, 1963, 1966 and 1969. His remarkable public life spanned nearly half a century as he first entered Parliament in 1932 and retired, as Governor-General, in 1980.

For many people Keith Holyoake came to embody the National Party. He was conservative but not illiberal. He was cautious but not inflexible. He was an instinctive democrat and sought to govern consensually. He had the good fortune to govern in a time of full employment and economic growth. The Holyaoke years therefore are often thought of as "the good years".

However, there were clouds on the horizon. Some historians have argued that New Zealand under Holyoake was complacent and insufficiently innovative. The seeds of our subsequent discontents, they say, were sown then. We didn't diversify our economy fast enough; Maori grievances were not addressed; and the concerns of environmentalists and feminists were ignored.

All these questions are raised in this collection of essays "towards a political biography". Readers are given much evidence with which to judge the true stature of the man.


Allan Thomas and Margaret Clark
Opening address
Rt Hon J B Bolger
Personal reflections on my father-in-law
Ken Comber
Holyoake and the Holyoake years
Antony Wood
Changing governance: The state services in the Holyoake years
John Martin
Looking for the tradesmen's sixpence: Keith Holyoake and industrial relations
Pat Walsh
Tobacco road to Pipitea street: Holyoake and the farmer politician tradition in New Zealand
Tom Brooking
Holyoake and the National Party
Barry Gustafson
Behind the scenes
Sir George Chapman
Stranger in the house: A view of K J Holyoake
Sir George Laking
'The Dovish Hawk': Keith Holyoake and the Vietnam War
Roberto Rabel
The sorcerer and his apprentice
Barry Gustafson

Published January 1997
Publisher Dunmore (NZ)
ISBN 9780864692917
Australian RRP $27.50
Direct Price $25.50
International Price $25.50
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Government / Political Studies

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