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Henry Robert ("Harry") Lapwood, OBE (1 November 1915 – 26 April 2007) was a New Zealand soldier and a National Party politician.


New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1960–1963 33rd Rotorua National
1963–1966 34th Rotorua National
1966–1969 35th Rotorua National
1969–1972 36th Rotorua National
1972–1975 37th Rotorua National
1975–1978 38th Rotorua National

Born at Tuakau, just south of Auckland, Lapwood was raised by an uncle and aunt, his mother having died when he was four and his father when he was ten.[1] He attended Tuakau and Dilworth Schools in Auckland,[2] before working first on a dairy farm in Awakeri, and later as a police officer in Invercargill. At the start of the Second World War in 1939 he joined the New Zealand Army and was a warrant officer class 1 in the 2nd Division. On 26 June 1942, he was appointed the Regimental Sergeant Major of 18 New Zealand Armoured Regiment.[3] The next day, during fighting at Minqar Qaim leading up to the First Battle of El Alamein, he was wounded by enemy artillery fire, resulting in the loss of use of one arm.[4]

He moved to Rotorua in 1947 with his wife Cath (née Gow) and purchased a grocery business. In 1960, he stood as the National Party candidate for the Rotorua electorate, which to his surprise he won, defeating Labour incumbent Ray Boord.[1] Lapwood represented Rotorua for six terms from 1960 until his retirement in 1978.[5] He was senior whip from 1970 to 1974,[6] and was known for having the loudest voice in Parliament, attributed to his previous role as RSM during the war.[1] He was Minister of Tourism[7] and Minister in charge of Publicity and of the Government Printing Office from 1975 to 1978, in the Muldoon government.[8]

He was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal and in the 1992 New Year Honours was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), "for public services".[9][10]

His wife Cath died in 2003. Lapwood died on 26 April 2007 after a short illness, and was survived by five daughters.


  1. ^ a b c Falconer, Phoebe (5 May 2007). "Obituary: Harry Lapwood". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  2. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 326.
  3. ^ Dawson, William Denham (1961). "Interrupted Holiday". 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Historical Publications Branch. p. 252 footnote. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  4. ^ Dawson, William Denham (1961). "Battle at Minqar Qaim". 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Historical Publications Branch. p. 255. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 211.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 280.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 95.
  8. ^ "Obituaries — Hon Henry Robert Lapwood OBE". Hansard. New Zealand Parliament. 638: 8735. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  9. ^ "Former Tourism Minister kept busy until the end". New Zealand Herald. 30 April 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  10. ^ "No. 52768". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1991. p. 30.


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840–1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Ray Boord
Member of Parliament for Rotorua
Succeeded by
Paul East