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Keith Holyoake

The Right Honorable Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, KG, GCMG, CH, QSO, was born on 11 February 1904, in Pahiatua, New Zealand. He was National Party[?] Prime Minister from September 20, 1957 to December 12, 1957, then again from December 12, 1960 to February 7, 1972.

At age 12, having left school after his father's death, Holyoake worked on the family hop farm near Nelson while his mother, Esther, continued his education at home. He became involved in Farming Groups[?] which finally led to him representing Motueka[?] in 1932. (He contended unsuccessfully for the seat in 1931 and then won it in a by-election one year later, becoming the youngest parliament member at the time.)

Holyoake became Prime Minister for a few weeks before the 1957 general election because the Prime Minister at the time (Sidney Holland[?]) retired due to ill-health.

Sir Keith was the longest-serving Prime Minister (just under 12 years) that New Zealand had ever had (but compare Richard Seddon's 13 years as Premier/Prime Minister and William Massey[?]'s almost 13 years as Prime Minister) and was known for his diplomatic style and "plummy" voice. He was also fondly (or mockingly) known as Kiwi Keith. (a name given to him in childhood). In 1972 Holyoake resigned as Prime Minister to ease the succession for his deputy and friend, John Marshall[?]. He remained in the Cabinet as the first Minister of State until 1977 when he became Governor-General. He served as Governor-General until 1980.

Sir Keith died in December 1983, aged 79, in New Zealand.



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