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Daniel Johnston Riddiford MC (11 March 1914 – 26 October 1974) was a New Zealand politician of the National Party.

Dan Riddiford

Dan Riddiford.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Wellington Central
In office
26 November 1960 – 25 November 1972
Preceded byFrank Kitts
Succeeded byKen Comber
21st Attorney-General of New Zealand
In office
2 February 1971 – 9 February 1972
Preceded byJack Marshall
Succeeded byRoy Jack
34th Minister of Justice
In office
22 December 1969 – 9 February 1972
Preceded byRalph Hanan
Succeeded byRoy Jack
Personal details
Born(1914-03-11)11 March 1914
Featherston, New Zealand
Died26 October 1974(1974-10-26) (aged 60)
Wellington, New Zealand
Political partyNational



Early lifeEdit

Riddiford was born in Featherston in 1914 a grandson of "King" Riddiford and Sydney Johnston of Oruawharo. He was educated in the UK at Downside School, Somerset, and New College, Oxford. He gained an MA in Modern Greats from Oxford, and also an LLB from the University of New Zealand. From 1932 to 1937, he farmed in the Wairarapa on family-owned land.[1]

For a number of years Riddiford was also a director of The Dominion newspaper (now The Dominion Post).[2]

Military serviceEdit

He joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in 1939 and was an officer with the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery. He was a prisoner of war in Italy from 1941 until his escape in 1943.[1] He was awarded the MC in World War II.[2] From 1946, he had a law practice in Wellington.[1]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1960–1963 33rd Wellington Central National
1963–1966 34th Wellington Central National
1966–1969 35th Wellington Central National
1969–1972 36th Wellington Central National

Riddiford contested the Petone electorate in the 1957 election,[1] but was beaten by the incumbent, Labour's Michael Moohan.[3] In the 1960 election, he stood in the Wellington Central electorate and defeated the incumbent, Labour's Frank Kitts.[4] Riddiford's win in Wellington Central was considered a surprise as the electorate had been held by Labour for the previous 42 years as well as Riddiford's rather aristocratic manner of campaigning which many thought unsuitable within an urban liberal electorate.[5] In 1970 he suffered a heart attack. Riddiford would remain in Parliament until 1972, when he retired and succeeded by Ken Comber.[6] Under Keith Holyoake, he was Minister of Justice (1969–1972) and Attorney-General (1971–1972).[7]


Earle Riddiford a notable New Zealand mountaineer and a lawyer was a cousin.


  1. ^ a b c d Gustafson 1986, p. 339.
  2. ^ a b Riddiford 2004.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 221.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 211, 231.
  5. ^ Gustafson 1986, pp. 84-5.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 231.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 90.


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years: A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  • Riddiford, Daniel (2004). Yvonne Riddiford (ed.). Committed to Escape: A New Zealand Soldier's Story. Martinborough: Ruamahanga Press. ISBN 978-0-476-01065-9.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ralph Hanan
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Roy Jack
Preceded by
Jack Marshall
Attorney-General of New Zealand
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Frank Kitts
Member of Parliament for Wellington Central
Succeeded by
Ken Comber