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Fraser MacDonald Colman QSO PC (23 February 1925 – 11 April 2008) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party. He represented the electorates of Petone from 1967 to 1978, and then when Petone was renamed, Pencarrow from 1978 to 1987, when he retired. He was the cabinet minister chosen to represent New Zealand in 1973 on its warships during their protest against the nuclear weapons testing carried out by France.

Fraser Colman

Fraser Colman.jpg
31st Minister of Works
In office
26 July 1984 – 15 August 1987
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Preceded byTony Friedlander
Succeeded byRichard Prebble
10th Minister of Immigration
In office
8 December 1972 – 12 December 1975
Prime MinisterNorman Kirk
Bill Rowling
Preceded byDavid Thomson
Succeeded byFrank Gill
Member of Parliament
for Pencarrow
Petone (1967–1978)
In office
15 April 1967 – 15 August 1987
Preceded byMick Moohan
Succeeded bySonja Davies
Personal details
Born23 February 1925
Wellington, New Zealand
Died11 April 2008
Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Noeline Jean Allen (m. 1958)

Early life and familyEdit

Colman was born in Wellington on 23 February 1925, one of five children of Kenneth and Emily Colman.[1][2] He attended primary school in Wellington before his family moved to Paraparaumu, where he went to Horowhenua College.[1] Upon leaving school he found employment as a boilermaker at the firm of William Cables; he worked in that profession for 13 years.[1]

He soon became active in the union movement, becoming a shop steward. He joined the Labour party, organising and distributing pamphlets and writing for the Labour Party newspaper, The Southern Cross.

In 1958, Colman married Noeline Jean Allen, after first meeting her in 1954, and the couple went on to have four children.[1][2] They moved to Wainuiomata in 1959,[3] where they built a home and lived the remainder of their life.[1]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1967–1969 35th Petone Labour
1969–1972 36th Petone Labour
1972–1975 37th Petone Labour
1975–1978 38th Petone Labour
1978–1981 39th Pencarrow Labour
1981–1984 40th Pencarrow Labour
1984–1987 41st Pencarrow Labour

He served as campaign manager for Henry May in the Onslow electorate in 1954. In 1955 he became assistant general secretary of the Labour Party. He held the position until he was persuaded to stand for Labour in the by-election for the Petone electorate in 1967 following the death in office of Mick Moohan, its existing MP.[1] He was elected in the 15 April 1967 by-election.[4] He held Petone until it was abolished in 1978.[5] He represented the Pencarrow electorate, which replaced Petone, from 1978 to 1987.[1]

Third Labour GovernmentEdit

He was a Cabinet Minister in the third Labour Government. In the cabinet of Norman Kirk, he held the positions of Minister of Mines (1972–1974),[6] Minister of Immigration (1972–1974),[6] Associate Minister of Labour, and Associate Minister of Works.[3] In the cabinet of Bill Rowling, he was Minister of Mines, Minister of Immigration and Postmaster-General (all 1974–1975).[7]

Following the defeat of the Labour Party he held the position of Opposition Spokesman on Energy.[3]


In 1973, the government decided to dispatch a Royal New Zealand Navy frigate to protest against French nuclear testing on Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific. It was decided that a cabinet minister should accompany the frigate to demonstrate the seriousness of the New Zealand government’s position. Norman Kirk put all the Cabinet ministers' names into a hat and drew out the name of Colman. He departed from Auckland on 25 June aboard the Otago, which reached Mururoa a month later where he witnessed the first atmospheric test. Colman transferred to the Canterbury when it arrived to relieve the Otago on 25 July, from which he witnessed the second French atmospheric test.[8]

Fourth Labour GovernmentEdit

In the fourth Labour Government, he again served as a cabinet minister holding the posts of Minister of Works and Development,[9] Minister in Charge of the Earthquake and War Damages Commission, and Associate Minister of Energy.[1]

Life after politicsEdit

Plaque commemorating Colman

Colman retired from Parliament at the 1987 election. He was replaced in Pencarrow by Sonja Davies.[1] He was subsequently appointed as chairman of the New Zealand Fire Service Council for a three-year term.[1]

Colman had a stroke in 1991. Another stroke in 1999 removed his ability to speak. He died on 11 April 2008, and was survived by his wife and three of their four daughters.[1]

Honours and awardsEdit

In 1977, Colman was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal.[2] He was appointed a member of the Privy Council in 1985, and in 1990 received the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.[2] In the 1992 New Year Honours, Colman was made a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services.[10] His wife, Noeline, had previously been appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for community service in the 1987 Queen's Birthday Honours.[11]

Colman was a life member of the Wellington Rugby League Club.[1]

Honorific eponymEdit

Fraser Colman Grove, a street in Wainuiomata is named after him.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Colman the ideal politician". The Hutt News. 22 April 2008. p. 66. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 104. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.
  3. ^ a b c "?". Wainuiomata Times. 17 April 2008. p. 3.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 190.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 270.
  6. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 92.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 93.
  8. ^ "Nuclear testing in the Pacific - nuclear-free New Zealand". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  9. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 98.
  10. ^ "No. 52768". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 31 December 1991. p. 30.
  11. ^ "No. 50950". The London Gazette (4th supplement). 13 June 1987. p. 32.
  12. ^ "Proposed New Street Name – Fraser Colman Grove. Report No. WCB2007/1/2" (PDF). Hutt City Council. Retrieved 24 April 2008.


  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
David Thomson
Minister of Immigration
Succeeded by
Frank Gill
Preceded by
Roger Douglas
Succeeded by
Hugh Templeton
Preceded by
Tony Friedlander
Minister of Works
Succeeded by
Richard Prebble
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Mick Moohan
Member of Parliament for Petone
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Pencarrow
Succeeded by
Sonja Davies