Biographies of Speakers

Read brief biographies of all past and current Speakers of the New Zealand House of Representatives.

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Sir Charles Clifford, Bt




Sir David Monro




Sir Francis Dillon Bell, KCMG, CB




Sir William Fitzherbert, KCMG




Sir George Maurice O'Rorke




Sir William Jukes Steward




Sir Arthur Robert Guinness




Sir Frederick William Lang




Sir Charles Ernest Statham


Independent (formerly Reform)


William Edward Barnard, CBE


Labour and Independent


Frederick William Schramm




Robert McKeen, CMG




Sir Matthew Henry Oram, MBE




Sir Robert Mafeking Macfarlane, KCMG




Sir Ronald Macmillan Algie




Sir Roy Emile Jack




Alfred Ernest Allen, CMG




Sir Stanley Austin Whitehead




Sir Roy Emile Jack




Sir (John) Richard Harrison, ED




Sir Basil Malcolm Arthur, Bt




Sir Gerard Aloysius Wall




Sir Thomas Kerry Burke




Sir Robert (Robin) McDowall Gray




Sir Peter Wilfred Tapsell, KNZM, MBE




Hon Douglas Lorimer Kidd, DCNZM




Rt Hon Jonathan Lucas Hunt, ONZ




Hon Margaret Anne Wilson




Dr The Rt Hon Alexander Lockwood Smith




Rt Hon David Cunningham Carter




Sir Charles Clifford, Bt (1813–1893)
Tenure 1856–1860

Charles Clifford was the New Zealand Parliament’s first Speaker, and to date its youngest to take on the position–he was 41 when he took on the role.

Lancashire-born Clifford emigrated to New Zealand in 1842 with his cousin William Vavasour to join the New Zealand Company settlement in Wellington. Financed by their fathers, they jointly owned land on the old Porirua Road and ran a land, shipping and commission agency in town. They became involved with farming, leasing land in the Wairarapa, Marlborough and North Canterbury.

He was made a Justice of the Peace and on May 13, 1844 was appointed as a nonofficial member to the Legislative Council to represent the southern settlements. When representative provincial and central government was introduced after the Constitution Act 1852 he was elected to the Wellington Provincial Council, convened in October 1853, and became its first Speaker. Elected to the General Assembly for Wellington City in 1853, he was unanimously chosen Speaker of the House of Representatives at its first sitting on May 26, 1854. He was knighted in 1858, retired from his seat in the House in 1860 and returned to England that year. He was made a Baronet in 1887.

Sir David Monro (1813-1877)
Tenure 1861–1870

Edinburgh-born and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Edinburgh David Monro bought four allotments of land in the proposed Nelson settlement of New Zealand and sailed for Melbourne, Australia as a surgeon on the Tasmania. He spent time with a brother who had settled in Victoria then sailed to New Zealand on the Ariel, arriving in Nelson in March 1842.

He became a pastoralist in Nelson and Marlborough. His political career began in 1843 when, in the aftermath of the Wairau incident, he and Alfred Domett were chosen to put the views of the Nelson settlers before the acting governor, Willoughby Shortland.

He was elected to the House of Representatives as member for Waimea West in 1853; he also represented Picton from 1858 to 1866 and Cheviot from 1866 to 1870. At the opening of the third Parliament on June 3, 1861, he was elected Speaker of the House and retained the post through 10 sessions. He was knighted in 1866.

Sir Francis Dillon Bell, KCMG, CB (1822–1898)
Tenure 1871–1875

Francis, usually referred to as Dillon, Bell, is believed to have been born in France on October 8 1822. His father, Edward Bell, was a merchant and the British consul at Bordeaux and his mother Frances was the daughter of an Anglican clergyman, the Rev J. Matthews. He became a clerk with the New Zealand Company in 1839 and within two years was its acting secretary. Bell arrived in New Zealand on September 12 1843 aboard the Ursula. He was initially based in Nelson, but when the New Zealand Company folded in 1850 he moved to the Hutt.

He was appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands and became an official member of the Legislative Council. In 1853 he was elected to the Wellington Provincial Council and in 1854 was appointed to the Legislative Council established by the Constitution Act in 1852. Three years later he won a seat in the House of Representatives for the Hutt. He moved south to Dunedin and was the Member for Mataura from 1866. He was made Speaker following the 1871 election. He was knighted in 1873, made a KCMG in 1881 and a CB in 1886.

Sir William Fitzherbert, KCMG (1810–1891)
Tenure 1876–1879

Born in Dorset, England on August 15, William Fitzherbert was the third son of Samuel Fitzherbert, an Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Ann Joyce. He trained as a doctor at the École de Médecine, Paris, and Charing Cross Hospital, London (he never practised medicine in New Zealand). He emigrated to New Zealand in 1841 on the Lady Leigh. A member of the Wellington Settlers’ Constitutional Association, he became involved in local affairs.

He represented Wellington City (1853–57 and 1865-69) and Hutt (1859-65) on the Wellington Provincial Council. He also became involved in central politics, representing Wellington City (1855-58) and Hutt (1858-79) in the House of Representatives. He was made Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1876 and was made a KCMG the following year. In 1879 he was appointed to the Legislative Council and made Speaker, a position he held until his death in 1891.

Sir George Maurice O’Rorke (1830–1916)
Tenure (1894–1902)

George Maurice O’Rorke was born on May 2, 1830 at Moylough, County Galway, Ireland, the third son of John O’Rorke, an Anglican clergyman and large landowner and Elizabeth Dennis, his third wife. After graduating in 1852 with BA (honours) in Classics from Trinity College, Dublin, he went to Australia before moving to New Zealand in 1854, to farm at Papakura and then Onehunga. He was appointed clerk to the Auckland Provincial Council in 1857 and was elected to the House of Representatives for Onehunga (later part of the Manukau electorate) in 1861.

He was elected chairman of committees of the House of Representatives in 1871, was a cabinet Minister in the Waterhouse and Vogel ministries was made Speaker of the House in 1879. Knighted in 1880, he was regarded as the outstanding Speaker of the colonial period and continued the work of his predecessor in establishing Parliamentary protocol. More than 5 of the present Speaker’s rulings still bear his name. He died in 1916.

Sir William Jukes Steward (1841–1912)
Tenure 1891–1893

William Steward was born at Reading, Berkshire and educated at King Edward VI Grammar School, Ludlow, Shropshire and at Dr Benham’s commercial school, Gloucester before emigrating to Canterbury in 1862. After working for Peacock and Co and a partnership with Axup and Bell he became interested in journalism and joined the staff of the North Otago Times, Oamaru.

He became MP for Waitaki (including Oamaru) in 1871, which he represented until being defeated in 1975. In 1879 he moved to Waimate and purchased the Waimate Times and in the same year was elected to Parliament. He represented Waimate (1881-93) and the adjusted district of Waitaki (1893–1911). He was made Speaker in 1891 and was knighted in 1902. In 1912 he was called to the Legislative Council, of which he was a member till his death on October 30, 1912.

Sir Arthur Robert Guinness (1846–1913)
Tenure 1903-1913 (died in office)

Arthur Robert Guinness was born at Calcutta, India, the son of Francis Guinness and came to New Zealand with his parents on the Tory in 1852. He was educated at Christ’s College, became a lawyer and practised on the West Coast for 46 years, being a notary public from 1888. He became active in West Coast politics and was elected to the first Grey County Council (of which he was chairman for nine years and a member 1876-90). He was elected to Parliament as MP for Grey in 1884, holding the seat until his death. He was chairman of committees (1893-1903) and Speaker from 1903 until his death. He was knighted in 1911.

Sir Frederick William Lang (1852-1937)
Tenure 1913-1922

Frederick William Lang was born and educated at Blackheath, London and came to New Zealand when he was 19 and became a farmer on the Waipa River. He was chairman of the Tuhikaramea Road Board, the Waipa County Council and the local hospital and charitable aid board. He was elected as MP for Waipa in 1893 and at the following election he gained the new Waikato seat, which held until 1905. The death of Kirkbride a few months later that year made a vacancy in Manukau and he represented that district until 1922.

He was made chairman of committees in 1912 and in the following year made Speaker, a position he held until 1923. He was knighted in 1916 and was called to the Legislative Council in 1924, of which he was a member until his death in 1937.

Sir Charles Ernest Statham (1875-1946)
Independent (formerly Reform)
Tenure 1923-1935

The country’s first New Zealand-born Speaker, Charles Ernest Statham was born in Dunedin on May 10, 1875, the son of Ann Sutton Hemsley and Charles Hadfield Statham. He was educated at Otago Boys’ High School and became a lawyer. He was married in 1905 to Lilias Harata Hine te Aho Burnett. He was elected to Parliament in 1911 as the MP for Dunedin Central–holding the seat until 1935. Statham is regarded as one of the finest Speakers of the New Zealand Parliament.

He studied Parliamentary procedure very closely and acquired an outstanding knowledge of parliamentary law. Many of his rulings still form part of Parliament’s standing orders. Statham was knighted in 1926 and made a Knight of the Order of St John in 1929. The Speaker’s Chair, made by one of Sir Charles’ constituents, on which he sat for the greater part of his Speakership was presented to his widow, Lady Statham in 1947. The chair remained in his family until 2001 when it was gifted back to Parliament by Sir Charles’ son, Charles Muntz

William Edward Barnard, CBE (1886-1958)
Labour and Independent
Tenure 1936-1943

William Edward Barnard was born in Carterton, Wairarapa on January 29 1886, the son of Ellen Banks and her husband Charles Leonard Barnard, a watchmaker. He attended Levin School and at 13 he began work as an office boy for local lawyer. He later studied law at Wellington’s Victoria College and began practising as a solicitor in 1908. After about a year in Foxton he moved to Te Aroha, becoming a founding member of the Hamilton District Law Society in 1912. In 1915 he travelled to Britain and enlisted for military service. He served as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps, mostly in Egypt, from February 1916 to March 1918, then as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery in Palestine.

Returning to New Zealand in August 1919, he settled in Helensville and established a successful legal practice. On October 26, 1921, at Takapuna, he married Elfreda Helen Eames. He became increasingly involved in radical politics. He joined the Labour Party in 1923 and was elected to its national executive in 1924. He contested the Kaipara seat the following year. He successfully stood for the marginal seat of Napier in 1928. He was appointed Speaker following Labour’s 1935 victory. He resigned from the Labour Party in 1940. Despite his defection from the government he continued to serve as Speaker, to general approval, for the next three years. He was made a CBE in 1957.

Frederick William Schramm (1886-1962)
Tenure 1944-1946

Frederick William Schramm was born in Hokitika on March 28, 1886, married Alice Peard and had two daughters. He began his working life as a clerk with the Justice Department and held positions in the Wanganui and Te Kuiti courts before carrying out War service (1917-1919) after which he returned to the Justice Department serving in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. He served as MP for Auckland East from 1931-1946 and was elected Speaker in 1944. He was a prominent athlete as well as a cricket and hockey player.

Robert McKeen, CMG (1884-1974)
Tenure 1947-1950

Born in West Calder, Linlithgow, Scotland in 1884, Robert McKeen was active in the Labour movement before coming to New Zealand in 1909. He was married to Jessie, daughter of Robert Russell. When he arrived in New Zealand he worked in the West Coast coal mines and became a Miners’ Union official. After settling in Wellington he became a grocer’s assistant and active in the union movement. He served as a Wellington City Councillor for 18 years, served on the Wellington Harbour Board for nine years and was MP for Wellington South from 1922- 1946 and Island Bay 1946-1954. He was made Chief Government Whip in 1935 and Speaker in 1947. He was made a CMG in 1960.

Sir Matthew Henry Oram, MBE (1885-1969)
Tenure 1950-1957

Matthew Henry Oram was born in Christchurch on June 2, 1885; his English-born father, one of five brothers who owned and managed several hotels in the city, died three months before he was born and his mother died when he was 12. He was brought up by an aunt in Wellington where he attended Wellington College and Victoria College, representing both at athletics. He graduated with a BA in 1908 and was awarded a Sir George Grey Scholarship; he completed an MA (with honours in mathematics) in 1909 and an LLB in 1912 and moved to Palmerston North to practise law.

He married Margarette Florence Johnson in Wellington on March 5, 1913. He sold his practice when war was declared in 1914 and enrolled in the army. Rejected as medically unfit for overseas service, he served in this country, first in an artillery unit in Palmerston North and then at Base Records. He was made an MBE (military division) for his work as deputy director, in charge of demobilisation.
He was a member of the Palmerston North Borough Council from 1920 to 1927, and stood unsuccessfully for Parliament for the Democrat Party in 1935. He won the Manawatu seat for the National Party in 1943 and held it until 1957. He was made Speaker of the House in 1950. He was knighted in 1952.

Sir Robert Mafeking Macfarlane, KCMG (1901-1981)
Tenure 1958–1960

Robert Macfarlane was born in Christchurch on May 17, 1901. Educated in Christchurch, he married Louisa Jacobs in 1932. He first entered politics in 1926 and was elected to the Christchurch City Council in 1927. He served in 1928 and from 1936 to 1941. He became Mayor in 1938. In 1941 he left politics to serve in the Middle East for more than two years. After the war he became Mayor again in 1950, after becoming a councillor again in 1947. He was Mayor until 1958.

He was MP for Christchurch Central for 30 years from 1939 to 1969, and was made Speaker in 1957. He also served on the Lyttelton Harbour Board and the Christchurch Transport Board. Labour had a majority of only one during his term of Speaker in the second Labour Government. Then Labour Party Leader Wallace Rowling noted at the time of Sir Robert’s death that no Speaker had worked under more difficult conditions. Sir Robert had controlled the situation by using common sense rather than the rule book, he said. He was made a CMG in 1954 and a KCMG in 1974.

Sir Ronald Macmillan Algie (1888-1978)
Tenure 1961-1966

Ronald Macmillan Algie was born in 1888 in Wyndham, Southland and spent his early days in Arrowtown. His father was a civil servant who moved around the country. By the time he was 20 he had lived in every province in New Zealand except Westland. He received his secondary education at Thames High School and from there, while working as a pupil-teacher; he went to Auckland University to study law. He was appointed a junior lecturer and in 1919 when the chair of law was established he became the first professor, a post he held for nearly two decades.

He entered politics as the MP for Remuera in 1943–a seat he held for 23 years. He was made Speaker in 1961 and knighted in 1964. On becoming Speaker he refused to follow tradition and be dragged “reluctantly” to the chair. Such play acting, he felt, was out of touch with the times.

Sir Roy Emile Jack (1914–1977)
Tenure 1967-1972, 1976-1977

Born in New Plymouth on January 12, 1914, Roy Jack spent most of his life in Wanganui. He was educated at Wanganui Collegiate and Victoria University where he graduated LLB. He was a Judge’s Associate from 1935-1938 and served in the RNZAF from 1939-1945. In 1945 he joined his late father’s legal firm. He was elected to the Wanganui City Council in 1946 and became deputy Mayor in 1947, continuing to hold this office until 1955 when he withdrew from the council.

He was elected a Member of Parliament for the Patea electorate in 1954 which he held until his death in 1977. He was made Deputy Speaker from 1961-1966 and was Speaker from 1967 until 1972 when he was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General. He held these portfolios until the change of government in 1972. He was re-elected Speaker after the return of the National Government in 1975. He was knighted in 1970. He died in his chambers in Parliament Buildings on Christmas Eve, 1977.

Alfred Ernest Allen, CMG (1912-1987)
Tenure 1972

Alfred Ernest Allen was born in Onehunga on May 20, 1912. He attended primary schools in the Bay of Plenty, Franklin and Auckland and received his secondary education at Auckland Grammar. He excelled at tennis and rugby and was an All Black trialist. He served in Greece and the Western Desert from 1940 until 1942 with the 24th Battalion and was invalided home and returned home and to farming. He owned farms at Port Albert, Maramarua and Clevedon.

He served many community activities and became the longest serving member of the Auckland Electric Power Board.

He was the National MP for Franklin from 1957 until his retirement in 1972, the same year he was made Speaker. When elected as Speaker in June that year, his election met with approval on both sides of the House. The then Leader of the Opposition, Norman Kirk, offered the Opposition’s unreserved congratulations and said he was confident the rights of the minority would be preserved. As Speaker he told a Pukekohe meeting that patriotic people should balance the activities of a “dirty, noisy, scruffy, vicious minority” on occasions such as the opening of Parliament. He was made a CMG in 1973.

Sir Stanley Austin Whitehead (1907-1976)
Tenure 1973-1975

Born in Reefton on October 8, 1907, Stanley Austin Whitehead began his working life as a sawmill worker, went on to railway construction then ran his own sawmill. He became a transport worker, a trade union secretary and Deputy Mayor of Nelson before entering Parliament as the MP for Nelson in 1957, which he held until his death in 1976. He was made Speaker after Labour’s victory in 1972.

He died before being invested with his knighthood announced only days before in that year’s New Year honours. The then Prime Minister Robert Muldoon said Sir Stanley was a man who firmly stood by what he thought to be right. His was a record of a hard-working man. The Leader of the Opposition, Wallace Rowling, said Sir Stanley was a man who saw things straight and played things straight.

Sir (John) Richard Harrison, ED (1921- )
Tenure 1978-1984

(John) Richard Harrison was born in Hastings on May 23, 1921 and educated at Hereworth School, Wanganui, Wanganui Collegiate and Canterbury University where he gained a Bachelor of Arts. He served in Italy during World War II with the 23rd Battalion from 1943-1945 and was later Military Liaison Officer in Bombay.

He was a member of the Hawke’s Bay Regiment from 1949-1959–the last three of that year he was its commanding officer. A Takapau farmer, he was elected to Parliament as the Member for Takapau in 1963. Between 1969 and December 1972 he was Junior Whip and Chairman of Committees and was elected as Speaker in 1978. He was knighted in 1980.

Sir Basil Malcolm Arthur, Bt (1928-1985)
Tenure 1984-1985

Basil Malcolm Arthur was born in Timaru on September 18, 1928, the son of Sir George Malcolm Arthur Bt and his wife, Doris Fay Wooding. George was a foreman printer at the Timaru Herald and later a hotel proprietor. In 1946 Sir Basil succeeded to the baronetcy that Queen Victoria had granted to his great-great grandfather in 1841. He attended Waimataitai School and Timaru Boys’ High School (1942-1944). At 15 he took a job on a fishing trawler off the Otago coast and was then employed as a freezing worker. He joined the Labour Party at 16. In 1947 at age 18 he enlisted in the army and served as a driver for a year with the occupation force in Japan. He married Elizabeth Rita Wells in 1950, was a hotel manager and then became a clerk for the Ministry of Works in Mangakino. He unsuccessfully contested the Labour nomination for the Waitomo electorate in 1957 and three years later gained the Hamilton nomination, but failed to win the seat.

He spent much of 1961 in the United Kingdom on an Imperial relations Trust Bursary, studying trade union affairs and the fishing industry. On his return he stood at the 1962 Waitaki by-election. Although unsuccessful, he radically cut the National Party’s majority and a few months later when the Timaru seat became vacant Sir Basil won the seat. On entering Parliament at 33 he was the country’s youngest MP. He was Minister of Transport and Minister in charge of State Insurance in the Kirk Government and was appointed Speaker in the Lange Government. He divorced in May 1983 and married Sandra Colleen Kennett in July that year. During his eight-month term as Speaker he was regarded as colourful and unorthodox, but fair. He died in Wellington Hospital on May 1, 1985 following stomach surgery in February that year.

Sir Gerard Aloysius Wall (1920-1992)
Tenure 1985-1987

Gerard Aloysius Wall was born in Christchurch on January 24, 1920. He was educated at St Bede’s College, Canterbury University and Otago University, graduating with an MB, ChB.

After graduation he worked as a House Surgeon in Christchurch and as a general practitioner in Denniston on the West Coast. He married Uru Raupo Cameron in 1951. He went to Britain and qualified as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, specialising in orthopaedic and plastic surgery.

On his return to New Zealand he became Superintendent of Wairau Hospital, Blenheim (1960-1969). He won the Porirua seat in 1969 and was elected as Speaker following Sir Basil Arthur’s death in 1985 and was knighted in 1987.

Sir Thomas Kerry Burke (1942- )
Tenure 1987-1990

Born in Christchurch on March 24, 1942, Kerry Burke was educated at Opawa Primary School and Linwood High School. He attended the University of Canterbury in 1960-1963 and Christchurch Teachers’ College in 1964. He gained a BA in history and Diploma of Teaching before taking up positions at Rangiora High School (1967-72) and Greymouth High School (1976-78).

He was first elected Parliament MP for Rangiora in 1972, was defeated in the 1975 election, but elected as the MP for the West Coast in the 1978 General Election. He was Minister of Immigration, Employment and Regional Development (1984-1987) and was made Speaker in 1987–at 45 the second youngest Speaker in the history of the New Zealand Parliament. He was knighted in 1989.

Sir Robert (Robin) McDowall Gray (1931- )
Tenure 1990-1993

Robert McDowall (Robin) Gray was born in Borgue, Scotland on July 2, 1931 and arrived in New Zealand in 1952 at the age of 21. He worked on farms in West and South Otago, eventually buying his own in 1956, became involved with farming politics (including both the Meat and Wool Boards) and won the Clutha seat for National in 1978. He was Whip (1985), Senior Whip (1987) before being made Speaker in 1990. He was knighted in 1993.

Sir Peter Wilfred Tapsell, KNZM, MBE (1930-2012)
Tenure 1993-1996

Peter Wilfred Tapsell was born in Rotorua on January 21, 1930. He was educated at Rotorua High School, was awarded a Ngarimu University Scholarship, and went to Otago University and Medical School in Dunedin, graduating as MB, ChB (NZ) in 1952. After working as a House Doctor at Waikato Hospital, Resident Surgical Officer at Dunedin Public Hospital and Demonstrator in Anatomy at Otago Medical School he went to Edinburgh and London for postgraduate training where he gained his FRCS (Edin) and FRCS (England).

He returned to New Zealand in 1961 to take up appointments as orthopaedic surgeon to the Rotorua and Queen Elizabeth hospitals. He was Deputy Mayor of Rotorua City and Chairman of the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute as well as taking an active role in several other Maori committees. He was made an MBE in 1968 for his outstanding contribution to public life.

He stood for Labour in Rotorua in 1975 and 1978 and was elected MP for Eastern Maori in 1981. He was Minister of Internal Affairs, Civil Defence, Minister for the Arts, Associate Minister of Local Government, Associate Minister of Tourism (1984-1987); Minister of Police (1987-89), Minister of Forestry, Recreation and Sport (1987-90), Minister of Lands, Minister of Survey and Land Information, Minister in Charge of Valuation Dept. (1987-90), Minister of Science (1989) and Minister of Defence (1990) and was made Speaker in 1993 during the Bolger National administration. He was made a KNZM in 1997.

Hon Douglas Lorimer Kidd, DCNZM (1941- )
Tenure 1996-1999

Douglas Lorimer Kidd was born in Levin on September 12, 1941 and grew up on the family dairy farm at Kuku, Ohau in which he retained an interest until it was sold in 1999 after 87 years in the family. He was educated at Ohau Primary School, Horowhenua College and Victoria University from where he graduated LLB in 1964.

After being admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor, he joined the Blenheim law firm, Wisheart, Macnab and Partners in 1964 and practised as a partner until 1979. During this time he became increasingly involved with the National Party, holding positions on the Marlborough Electorate Executive, as a Dominion Councillor, and as an Electorate Chairman for Marlborough.

He was elected MP for Marlborough in 1978. Between 1980 and 1990 he chaired a number of Parliamentary Select Committees and Caucus committees. With National’s return to the Government benches in October 1990 he was appointed to Cabinet as Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Fisheries and Associate Minister of Finance, also chairing the Cabinet Expenditure Control Committee.
In the October 1991 Cabinet reshuffle, Mr Kidd was made Maori Affairs Minister, retaining the Fisheries portfolio. He was appointed to the Fisheries, Energy and Labour portfolios and was appointed chair of the Expenditure Control and Revenue Committee following the 1993 General Election and appointed to the ACC portfolio in 1995. He was made Speaker in 1996. He was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June 2000.

Rt Hon Jonathan Lucas Hunt, ONZ (1938- )
Tenure 1999-2005

Jonathan Lucas Hunt was born in Lower Hutt on December 2, 1938, educated at College Street Primary School, Palmerston North, Palmerston North High School and Auckland Grammar. He attended Auckland University, gaining an MA (Hons) in 1961 before becoming a teacher at Kelston Boys High School (1961-1966) and tutor in history at Auckland University (1964-1966). He stood successfully for the seat of New Lynn in 1966, holding the seat until 1996 when he became a list MP.

Known as “father of the House”, Mr Hunt is the longest serving current Member of Parliament. He served as Whip, Deputy Speaker and was a Minister in the Fourth Labour Government from 1984-1990, holding the portfolios of Telecommunications and Broadcasting, Postmaster General, Tourism, and Housing. He was Leader of the House from 1987-1990. In November, 1989, he was appointed to the Privy Council. He was unanimously elected Speaker in December 1999 and returned to the position in 2002.

Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt was appointed to the Order of New Zealand for services to Parliament in the New Years Honours 2005. On 2 March 2005 Mr Hunt resigned as Speaker. On 31 March 2005 he resigned as member of Parliament. On 4 April 2005 he became New Zealand's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ambassador to Ireland.

Hon Margaret Anne Wilson (1947- )
Tenure 2005-2008

Margaret Wilson was born in Gisborne in 1947. She was educated at St Joseph's School and later at St Dominic's College, Northcote and Morrinsville College. Margaret Wilson studied law at Auckland University, completing an LL.B (Hons) and M.Jur (1st Class).

After graduation Margaret Wilson worked as a law clerk and barrister and solicitor before teaching at Auckland University. She was appointed as foundation Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Waikato in 1990.

Margaret Wilson first entered Parliament on the Labour Party list in 1999 and gained a Ministerial post immediately after her election. Her Ministerial positions included Attorney- General, Minister of Labour, Minister responsible for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Minister of Commerce.

Other past public service includes: President of the New Zealand Labour Party 1984-1987; Chief Political Adviser and Head of the Prime Minister's Office 1987-1989; Law Commissioner 1987-1989; Director, Reserve Bank 1985-1989; Member, National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women 1987-92. Margaret Wilson was elected Speaker in March 2005. She was the first woman Speaker of New Zealand's House of Representatives.

Dr The Rt Hon Alexander Lockwood Smith (1948- )
Tenure 2008-2013

Dr. Lockwood Smith was born in 1948 in Paparoa, Northland. He was educated at Matakohe Primary School, Ruawai District High School and Auckland Grammar School. He studied agriculture at Massey University and graduated BAgSc in 1970 and MAgSc in 1973. He was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and completed a PhD in Animal Science at the University of Adelaide in 1980.

Following a period lecturing at Massey University in the early 1970s, he hosted educational children’s television shows in Australia and New Zealand, 1976-1983. He also worked as the NZ Dairy Board‘s marketing manager for Central and South East Asia, 1980-1983. He has operated a beef farm in Northland for many years. In 2010 he received a Massey University Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Smith entered the House in 1984 as the member for Kaipara. From 1996 he has represented the Rodney electorate. His ministerial responsibilities have included Minister of Education 1990-1996, Minister of Agriculture 1996-1998, Minister of Forestry 1996-1999, Minister of International Trade 1996-1999, Deputy Minister of Finance 1996, and Associate Minister of Finance 1998-1999. In Opposition from 1999 he held a number of spokesperson roles such as Foreign Affairs, Commerce, and Immigration.

He was unanimously elected Speaker on 9 December 2008. In office he demonstrated a strong interest in reforming question time. He resigned from the Speakership on 31 January 2013 and resigned as member of Parliament on 14 February 2013.

David Cunningham Carter (1952- )
Tenure 2013-

David Carter was born in Christchurch in 1952. He was educated at St Bede’s College and completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln in 1973. He was involved in New Zealand’s first cattle embryo transplant company. He was a farmer and businessman and still farms in Canterbury.

Carter was elected to the Selwyn electorate in 1994 in a by-election. From 1996 to 1999 he represented Banks Peninsula and since then has been in the House on the party list. He was junior whip 1996-1998 and chairman of the Finance and Expenditure Committee 1998-1999. In 1998-1999 he was Minister outside Cabinet for Senior Citizens and held a number of Associate Minister roles: Revenue; Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control; and Education (1999). In Opposition his spokesperson roles have included finance, agriculture, tourism and housing. His more recent ministerial portfolios have been Minister of Agriculture 2008-2011, Minister of Biosecurity 2008-2011, Minister of Forestry 2008-2011, Minister for Primary Industries 2011-2013, and Minister for Local Government 2012-2013. He was elected Speaker on 31 January 2013.