Open main menu

John Baldwin Munro QSO JP (né John Baldwin, 15 August 1936 – 4 June 2018), better known as J. B. Munro, was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party. He was also a notable disability advocate.

J. B. Munro

J.B. Munro
J.B. Munro
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Invercargill
In office
1972 – 1975
Preceded byJohn Chewings
Succeeded byNorman Jones
Personal details
John Baldwin

(1936-08-15)15 August 1936
Gore, New Zealand
Died4 June 2018(2018-06-04) (aged 81)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Other political
Valmai Marion Sharfe (m. 1962)
RelationsBurt Munro (brother)


Early life and educationEdit

Born in Gore in 1936, Munro's birth name was John Baldwin.[1] Having had poliomyelitis as a baby, he was a state ward and raised as a foster child.[2] At the age of nine he was adopted by his foster parents, the Munro family in Invercargill,[3] and his name was changed to John Baldwin Munro.[1] His adoptive father was William Munro[4] and his adoptive brother was Burt Munro, a New Zealand motorcycle racer who was the subject of The World's Fastest Indian.

Munro was educated at St George Primary (now Fernworth Primary), Tweedsmuir Junior High, and Southland Boys' High School.[4]


Munro was a clerk for the Vacuum Oil Company from 1954 to 1957. He was secretary for the YMCA in Invercargill, Australia, and Dunedin between 1958 and 1968.[4][3]

He was the Southland administrator for IHC New Zealand from 1968 to 1973. He was the chairman for the Paraplegic Trust Appeal in 1973 and set up the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand.[4][3] For seven years, he chaired the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare agencies.[3]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1972–1975 37th Invercargill Labour

He represented the Invercargill electorate in Parliament from 1972 to 1975, when he was defeated by Norman Jones.[5] Previously he had been a member of the National Party.[6] In Parliament, Munro was notable for advocating the passage of the Disabled Persons' Community Welfare Act.[7] It was passed during the last week of Parliament before the Labour Party was defeated in the 1975 general election, giving disabled people community services as of right for the first time.[7] Munro worked as a Labour Party fundraiser during the general election.[7]

In October 1977, Munro moved to Wellington following his political career.[7] He was appointed national secretary of IHC. Munro was vice-chairman of the 1981 telethon, which raised NZ$6 million and which funded the introduction of teletext in New Zealand.[3] He retired from IHC in 1998 as chief executive officer.[3]

Awards and honoursEdit

On his retirement from IHC, Munro was made a life member, and in 2014 was inducted into the Attitude Hall of Fame.[2] In the 1990 New Year Honours, Munro was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

On 6 October 1962, Munro married Valmai "Val" Sharfe, the daughter of Walter Sharfe. They had one son and one daughter.[4] Hilary Stace was writing a biography of Munro in 2015.[3]

He died in Christchurch on 4 June 2018, aged 81.[9]


  1. ^ a b "J B Munro to be awarded life membership at 2016 AGM". Polio NZ. 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b "IHC New Zealand Life Member, JB Munro, inducted into the Attitude Hall of Fame". IHC New Zealand. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Stace, Dr Hilary (9 March 2015). "JB Munro Citizen Volunteer". IHC New Zealand. Archived from the original on 23 January 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Traue, James Edward, ed. (1978). Who's Who in New Zealand (11th ed.). Wellington: Reed. p. 203.
  5. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 222. OCLC 154283103.
  6. ^ Grant 2014, pp. 204.
  7. ^ a b c d "A special ability". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  8. ^ "No. 51982". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1989. p. 31.
  9. ^ "JB Munro death notice". The Dominion Post. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.


New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
John Chewings
Member of Parliament for Invercargill
Succeeded by
Norman Jones