Keith Holyoake facts for kids

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Sir Keith Holyoake
b&w portrait photo of a man in his mid fifties
Keith Holyoake in 1960
13th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
26 October 1977 – 25 October 1980
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Sir Denis Blundell
Succeeded by Sir David Beattie
26th Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
12 December 1960 – 7 February 1972
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor-General Charles Lyttelton
Bernard Fergusson
Arthur Porritt
Deputy Jack Marshall
Preceded by Walter Nash
Succeeded by Jack Marshall
In office
20 September 1957 – 12 December 1957
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor-General Charles Lyttelton
Deputy Jack Marshall
Preceded by Sidney Holland
Succeeded by Walter Nash
1st Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
13 November 1954 – 20 September 1957
Prime Minister Sidney Holland
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Jack Marshall
Personal details
Born (1904-02-11)11 February 1904
Pahiatua, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand
Died 8 December 1983(1983-12-08) (aged 79)
Wellington, New Zealand
Political party Reform
National

Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake (11 February 1904 – 8 December 1983) was the 26th Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving for a brief period in 1957 and then from 1960 to 1972, and also the 13th Governor-General of New Zealand, serving from 1977 to 1980. He is the only New Zealand politician to date to have held both positions.

Holyoake was born near Pahiatua in the Wairarapa region. He left formal education at age 12 to help on the family farm. Before entering politics, he was active in various local farming associations. Holyoake was first elected to Parliament in 1932, representing the conservative Reform Party. He played an instrumental role in the formation of the National Party in 1936. He lost his seat two years later but was earmarked for the safe seat of Pahiatua, which he held from 1943.

Following National's first election victory, Holyoake entered Cabinet in 1949. In 1954, he was appointed the first Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, under Sidney Holland. Holyoake became Leader of the National Party and Prime Minister two months before the 1957 election, after Holland's resignation due to ill health. Following an election defeat, he served as the Leader of the Opposition for three years before National returned to power in 1960.

Holyoake's government rewrote the criminal legal code, passing the Crimes Act 1961. One of the main features of this act was the abolition of capital punishment. Among many conservative reforms, his government introduced a form of "voluntary unionism". In foreign policy, Holyoake supported the United States and sent troops to Vietnam. Holyoake led his party to four consecutive election victories (not since surpassed). In 1972, he resigned as Prime Minister.

In 1977, the National government of Robert Muldoon appointed Holyoake as Governor-General. Holyoake's term was limited to three years, not the normal five. In 1980, he became a Knight of the Garter, a rare honour. Holyoake is to date the third longest serving New Zealand prime minister (just under 12 years).

Holyoake twice married Norma Janet Ingram: first in a civil ceremony on 24 September 1934, and again on 11 January 1935 at their Presbyterian church in Motueka. The couple had five children. He died on 8 December 1983, aged 79, in Wellington. His state funeral took place on 13 December 1983 in Wellington Cathedral of St Paul.

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