Holyoake, Keith (New Zealand)

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Keith Jacka Holyoake was born on 11 Feb. 1904 at Pahiatua on North Island. National party prime minister in 1957 and then from 1960–72, Holyoake was famous for his judicious diplomacy and skill at encouraging consensus. He later served as the country’s governor-general for 3 years from 1977. At age 12, having left school after his father’s death, Holyoake worked on the family farm while his mother continued his education at home. His school nickname, ‘Kiwi Keith’ which distinguished him from an Australian classmate, nevertheless remained with the statesman for life.

Early Life

Holyoake was active in local farming organizations during the 1930s and 40s and first stood for parliament in 1931. He unsuccessfully contested the Motueka seat for the United Party at the election of that year but won it in a 1932 by-election. The youngest member in the House, he held Motueka until 1938. He married Norma Ingram in 1935 and helped set up the National party in the following year after...

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