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Robert James Tizard CNZM (7 June 1924 – 28 January 2016) was a Labour politician from New Zealand. He served as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of Health and Minister of Defence.

Bob Tizard

Bob Tizard, 1963.jpg
6th Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
10 September 1974 – 12 December 1975
Prime MinisterBill Rowling
Preceded byHugh Watt
Succeeded byBrian Talboys
Member of Parliament
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Tamaki
In office
30 November 1957 – 30 November 1960
Prime MinisterKeith Holyoake
Preceded byEric Halstead
Succeeded byRobert Muldoon
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Otahuhu
In office
16 March 1963 – 30 November 1963
Preceded byJames Deas
Succeeded bySeat abolished 1963
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Pakuranga
In office
30 November 1963 – 25 November 1972
Preceded byCreated 1963
Succeeded byGavin Downie
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Otahuhu
In office
25 November 1972 – 14 July 1984
Preceded byRe-established 1972
Succeeded bySeat Abolished 1984
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Panmure
In office
14 July 1984 – 27 October 1990
Preceded bySeat Created 1984
Succeeded byJudith Tizard
Personal details
Robert James Tizard

(1924-06-07)7 June 1924
Auckland, New Zealand
Died28 January 2016(2016-01-28) (aged 91)
Auckland, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Catherine Anne Maclean
(m. 1951; div. 1980)

Mary Nacey (div.)
Beryl Vignale (m. 1989)
RelativesJudith Tizard (daughter)
Military service
Branch/serviceAir Force Ensign of New Zealand.svg Royal New Zealand Air Force
Years of service1943–45
RankUK-Air-OF1B infobox.svg Flying Officer
Battles/warsWorld War II

Early life and familyEdit

Born in Auckland on 7 June 1924, Tizard was the son of Jessie May Tizard (née Phillips) and Henry James Tizard.[1][2]

He was educated at Meadowbank School and Auckland Grammar School, and earned a university scholarship in 1940.[3] In March 1943 he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force. A navigator, he was commissioned as a pilot officer in February 1945,[3][4] and promoted to flying officer in August 1945.[5]

After the war, Tizard studied at Auckland University College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1948 and a Master of Arts in 1950.[6] His MA thesis was entitled Mr H.E. Holland's Blueprint for New Zealand and the World,[7] Harry Holland having been a previous leader of the New Zealand Labour Party.[citation needed]

While at university, Tizard met future wife Catherine Maclean, while he was president of the Auckland University Students Association. On their second date Tizard told Maclean he was "going into politics. And I'm going to marry you."[8] They married in 1951, and Tizard unsuccessfully ran for the Remuera electorate later that year at the general election and again at the 1954 general election.[citation needed]

He was finally successful at the 1957 election, winning in Tamaki, but was defeated three years later by Robert Muldoon. The couple moved to Avondale and started a family, with his wife having four children in six years starting at the age of 21 with Anne, followed by Linda, Judith and Nigel. They moved in 1957 to Glendowie in the Tamaki electorate. Tizard ran for and won the Pakuranga electorate at the general election in 1963. His wife then returned to university to complete her degree in zoology,[8] and later began teaching at Auckland university. The couple divorced in 1980.[8]

Catherine Tizard was Mayor of Auckland from 1983–90 and Governor-General of New Zealand from 1990 to 1996. He is the father of former Consumer Affairs minister Judith Tizard, who succeeded her father as the Member of Parliament for Panmure in 1990.[citation needed]

Tizard later married Mary Nacey, with whom he had a son, Joe. They subsequently divorced. He married Beryl Vignale of Canada in 1989. The couple had been engaged during World War II.[9]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1957–1960 32nd Tamaki Labour
1963 33rd Otahuhu Labour
1963–1966 34th Pakuranga Labour
1966–1969 35th Pakuranga Labour
1969–1972 36th Pakuranga Labour
1972–1975 37th Otahuhu Labour
1975–1978 38th Otahuhu Labour
1978–1981 39th Otahuhu Labour
1981–1984 40th Otahuhu Labour
1984–1987 41st Panmure Labour
1987–1990 42nd Panmure Labour

Tizard was the Member of Parliament for Tamaki from 1957 to 1960, when he was defeated by National's Robert Muldoon.[8] He returned to parliament in a 1963 by-election in the Otahuhu electorate, but in the 1963 general election was elected MP for Pakuranga. When United States Vice President Spiro Agnew visited Wellington in mid-January 1970, Tizard along with several other Labour Members of Parliament including Arthur Faulkner, Jonathan Hunt, and Martyn Finlay boycotted the state dinner to protest American policy in Vietnam. However, other Labour MPs including Opposition Leader Norman Kirk attended the function which dealt with the Nixon Doctrine.[10] In 1972 he became MP for Otahuhu again. In 1984 he became MP for Panmure, until he retired in 1990.

Cabinet ministerEdit

Tizard was appointed as Minister of Health when the Kirk Labour Government was elected in 1972. Following the death of Kirk in 1974, he became Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, replacing Bill Rowling (who the caucus elected Prime Minister) in both roles. As Minister of Finance, Tizard's budget introduced a number of progressive measures, such as an expansion of spending on education which provided a standard bursary for all students in tertiary studies.[11] In the Lange Government he held the Defence portfolio as well as the Science and Technology portfolio.

Life after politicsEdit

In 2009, at the age of 85, Bob Tizard was asked to speak, as a historian, on aspects of World War II at a dinner held to honour Captain Jack Lyon, a New Zealand war hero and former Labour Party Member of Parliament. An mp3 recording of the 25 minute speech is available here.[12]

In 2007 Tizard announced his candidacy for the Auckland District Health Board.[13] He was elected to the board, at the age of 83.[14]


Bob Tizard died in Auckland on 28 January 2016, aged 91.[15]


  1. ^ International Biographical Centre (1989). Who's who in Australasia and the Far East. International Biographical Centre. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Births". Auckland Star. 9 June 1924. p. 1. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Untitled". Auckland Star. 27 February 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  4. ^ "New Zealand, World War II appointments, promotions, transfers and resignations, 1939–1945". Operations. 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  5. ^ "New Zealand, World War II appointments, promotions, transfers and resignations, 1939–1945". Operations. 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  6. ^ "NZ university graduates 1870–1961: T". Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Mr H.E Holland's Blueprint for New Zealand and the World". Bob Tizard. 1949. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d Catherine Tizard (2010). Cat Amongst the Pigeons, A Memoir. Random House. ISBN 978-1-86979-300-5.
  9. ^ "NZ minister finally weds war-time sweetheart". Straits Times. Singapore. 29 September 1989. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  10. ^ Rabel, Roberto (2005). New Zealand and the Vietnam War: Politics and Diplomacy. Auckland: Auckland University Press. pp. 299–300. ISBN 1-86940-340-1.
  11. ^ A Lifetime In Politics: The Memoirs Of Warren Freer by W. W. Freer
  12. ^ "Jack Lyon – soldier, democrat, internationalist". Phil Twyford. Red Alert. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  13. ^ Wayne Thompson (28 August 2007). "Tizard's fighting fit to campaign at 83". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
  14. ^ Errol Kiong (15 October 2007). "Bob Tizard back in political leadership role at the age of 83". The New Zealand Herald.
  15. ^ "Former deputy Prime Minister Bob Tizard dies age 91". The New Zealand Herald. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Eric Halstead
Member of Parliament for Tamaki
Succeeded by
Robert Muldoon
Preceded by
James Deas
Member of Parliament for Otahuhu
Constituency abolished, recreated in 1972
Title next held by
Constituency recreated after abolition in 1963
Title last held by
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Pakuranga
Succeeded by
Gavin Downie
Member of Parliament for Panmure
Succeeded by
Judith Tizard
Political offices
Preceded by
Lance Adams-Schneider
Minister of Health
Succeeded by
Tom McGuigan
Preceded by
Hugh Watt
Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Brian Talboys
Party political offices
Preceded by
Hugh Watt
Deputy-Leader of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
David Lange