For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Robert Macfarlane (New Zealand politician).

Robert Macfarlane (New Zealand politician)

Sir Robert Macfarlane
Robert Macfarlane in ca 1951
14th Speaker of the House of Representatives
In office
21 January 1958 – 28 October 1960
Prime MinisterWalter Nash
Preceded byMatthew Oram
Succeeded byRonald Algie
37th Mayor of Christchurch
In office
18 November 1950 – 17 May 1958
Preceded byErnest Andrews
Succeeded byGeorge Manning
In office
11 May 1938 – 17 May 1941
Preceded byJohn Beanland
Succeeded byErnest Andrews
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Christchurch Central
In office
27 November 1946 – 29 November 1969
Preceded bynew electorate
Succeeded byBruce Barclay
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Christchurch South
In office
3 June 1939 – 27 November 1946
Preceded byTed Howard
Succeeded byelectorate abolished
Personal details
Robert Mafeking Haynes

(1900-05-17)17 May 1900
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died2 December 1981(1981-12-02) (aged 81)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Louisa Jacobs
(m. 1932)

Sir Robert Mafeking Macfarlane KCMG (né Haynes, 17 May 1900 – 2 December 1981) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party. He was a Member of Parliament, served as Speaker of the House of Representatives and was a Mayor of Christchurch.

Early life

Macfarlane was born in Christchurch on 17 May 1900, the son of Emma Rose King Haynes.[1] Born during the Second Boer War, his mother gave him the middle name Mafeking from a town in South Africa that was under siege at the time of his birth.[2] In 1904, he took the surname Macfarlane after his mother married Hugh Macfarlane, a labourer.[1]

He married Louisa Jacobs in 1932 with whom he had two daughters.[1]

Local body politics

Macfarlane was on the Christchurch City Council (1927–1929, 1936–1941, 1947–1959, and 1961–1981),[3] and was Mayor of Christchurch twice, from 1938 to 1941 and from 1950 to 1958.[4] He was at various times a member of the Lyttelton Harbour Board.[1]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1939–1943 26th Christchurch South Labour
1943–1946 27th Christchurch South Labour
1946–1949 28th Christchurch Central Labour
1949–1951 29th Christchurch Central Labour
1951–1954 30th Christchurch Central Labour
1954–1957 31st Christchurch Central Labour
1957–1960 32nd Christchurch Central Labour
1960–1963 33rd Christchurch Central Labour
1963–1966 34th Christchurch Central Labour
1966–1969 35th Christchurch Central Labour

Macfarlane entered Parliament in 1939 following a by-election, replacing Ted Howard (although Howard's daughter Mabel Howard had hoped to replace him following his death). He was the Member of Parliament for Christchurch South from 1939 to 1946, then for Christchurch Central from 1946 to 1969, when he retired.

From May 1947 until September 1947 he was the Labour Party's junior whip. He was subsequently Labour's senior whip from September 1947 until June 1951.[5]

Speaker of the House of Representatives

He was the 14th Speaker of the House of Representatives during the Second Labour Government (1957–60).[6] As the government held a working majority of one careful management was needed in the house to avoid the government losing a division. Macfarlane at times struggled with his hearing, which was known to be poor, which was further impeded when wearing the formal wig inside the chamber. Many MPs, particularly Keith Holyoake the Leader of the Opposition, would take advantage of this and would challenge, ignore and defy his rulings.[2] Regardless a vote was never lost and later Labour leader Bill Rowling credited Macfarlane's use of 'common sense rather than the rule book' with enabling the government to survive its full term in office.[1]

Macfarlane was given the job of speaker after failing to be elected to cabinet. He had wanted to be Minister of Internal Affairs.[2]

Under Arnold Nordmeyer, and more particularly, Norman Kirk Labour wanted to modernise itself and Macfarlane was among several MPs who became increasingly pressured to retire. In defiance of this he was re-nominated again by local members for the 1966 general election and his nomination was queried by head office.[7] He was allowed to stand again on the stipulation that he would not stand at the 1969 general election.[8]


In the 1954 Queen's Birthday Honours, Macfarlane was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George,[9] and in the 1974 New Year Honours he was elevated to Knight Commander of the same order.[10] In the 1985 New Year Honours, his wife, Louisa, Lady Macfarlane, was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for community service.[11]

Military service

In World War II he served in the Middle East in the ASC of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force for 2½ years.


  1. ^ a b c d e Clark, Kath. "Macfarlane, Robert Mafeking". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Tizard, R. J. (20 December 1993). "When MPs held on by self-discipline". The New Zealand Herald. p. 8.
  3. ^ "Councillors of the City of Christchurch". Christchurch: Christchurch City Council. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Chairmen and mayors". Christchurch: Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  5. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 281. OCLC 154283103.
  6. ^ New Zealand. Parliament. House of Representatives (1982). Parliamentary Debates. Vol. 443. p. 136.
  7. ^ "To Plead Case of Labour M.P.". The Evening Post. 3 May 1966. p. 12.
  8. ^ "Mr. Macfarlane Nominated to Stand Again". The Evening Post. 7 May 1966. p. 22.
  9. ^ "No. 40190". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 10 June 1954. p. 3299.
  10. ^ "No. 46163". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 1 January 1974. p. 35.
  11. ^ "No. 49970". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 31 December 1984. p. 2.


  • Who's Who in New Zealand, 10th Edition 1971
New Zealand Parliament Preceded byTed Howard Member of Parliament for Christchurch South 1939–1946 Constituency abolished New constituency Member of Parliament for Christchurch Central 1946–1969 Succeeded byBruce Barclay Political offices Preceded byJohn Beanland Mayor of Christchurch 1938–19411950–1958 Succeeded byErnest Andrews Preceded byErnest Andrews Succeeded byGeorge Manning Preceded byMatthew Oram Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives 1958–1960 Succeeded byRonald Algie Preceded byHarold Smith Deputy-Mayor of Christchurch 1971–1974 Succeeded byPeter Skellerup Party political offices Preceded byArthur Shapton Richards Senior Whip of the Labour Party 1947–1951 Succeeded byPhil Connolly
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Robert Macfarlane (New Zealand politician)
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?