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Leslie Walter (Les) Gandar (26 January 1919 – 16 December 1994) was a New Zealand politician of the National Party.


New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1966–1969 35th Manawatu National
1969–1972 36th Manawatu National
1972–1975 37th Ruahine National
1975–1978 38th Ruahine National

Gandar was born in 1919. He received his education from Kelburn Normal, Wellington College, and Victoria University, from where he graduated with a BSc.[1] During World War II, he fought for the Royal New Zealand Air Force in Britain, the Middle East, and Iran. He returned to his sheep farm in the Manawatu after the war. He was elected onto Pohangina County Council and served from 1952 to 1969, including ten years as chairman. He had a strong interest in education and was on the Massey University Council from 1963 and was the university's chancellor from 1970 to 1975.[1]

He represented the Manawatu electorate from 1966 to 1972, then Ruahine from 1972 to 1978.[2] He was defeated in 1978 for the new Rangitikei electorate by Bruce Beetham.[3] Beetham had won the electorate in the Rangitikei by-election, held earlier in the year on 18 February 1978 after the death of Sir Roy Jack.[4] National planned that Gandar would take over the new electorate at the November general election, and stood an interim candidate, local Jim Bull, in the by-election. But, to general surprise, Beetham won the by-election for Social Credit. He stood unsuccessfully for Rangitīkei in the 1978 election.

Gandar was a cabinet minister in the Second National Government of New Zealand holding the Education portfolio (1975–1978),[5] and from 1979 to 1982 was the New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He died on 16 December 1994 in Wellington and was cremated.[6]


  1. ^ a b Gustafson 1986, p. 312.
  2. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 198.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 183, 198.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 183.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 95.
  6. ^ "Details". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 22 May 2015.


  • 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 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Blair Tennent
Member of Parliament for Manawatu
Succeeded by
Allan McCready
New constituency Member of Parliament for Ruahine
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Phil Amos
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Merv Wellington
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Douglas Carter
High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Bill Young