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Mary Manson Dreaver MBE (née Bain, 31 March 1887 – 19 July 1961) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Mary Dreaver

Mary Dreaver, 1940's.JPG
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Waitemata
In office
19 July 1941 – 25 September 1943
Preceded byJack Lyon
Succeeded byHenry Thorne Morton
New Zealand Legislative Councillor
In office
31 January 1946 – 31 December 1950
Appointed byPeter Fraser
Personal details
Mary Manson Bain

(1887-03-31)31 March 1887
Dunedin, New Zealand
Died19 July 1961(1961-07-19) (aged 74)
Auckland, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Andrew James Dreaver (m. 1911)


Early lifeEdit

She was born in Dunedin, the oldest of 13 children of Alexander Manson Bain and Hanna Kiely. She married Andrew James Dreaver in 1911. She was a minister and president of the National Spiritualist Church of New Zealand, a journalist as Maorilander in the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, and a broadcaster on Radio 1ZB as Aunt Maisy.[1] In 1934 she became the first woman minister appointed by the church in New Zealand.[2]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1941–1943 26th Waitemata Labour

Dreaver sought selection by the Labour Party for the 1930 by-election in the Parnell electorate, but was beaten by Tom Bloodworth.[3][4]

In 1931 she was elected to the Auckland Hospital Board as a Labour candidate.[5][6][7] In 1933 a visit by her to the hospital kitchen and claims of long hours and "sweated labour" there aroused controversy on the board.[8] Dreaver then sought the Labour nomination for the 1936 by-election in the Manukau seat, but was beaten by Arthur Osborne.[9]

In the 1938 election she stood for Labour in Remuera, coming second. In 1940 she stood for the Labour nomination at the Auckland West by-election following the death of Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage, but lost to Peter Carr.[10]

In 1941 she won the Waitemata electorate when a by-election was held after the death of the previous Labour Party MP, Jack Lyon.[11] She was defeated in the next (1943) general election, by the National Party candidate, Henry Thorne Morton.[12]

Dreaver in 1934.

She was the third woman to be elected to Parliament after Elizabeth McCombs and Catherine Stewart. She also was on several Auckland local bodies.[1]

Dreaver and Mary Anderson were the first two women appointed to the Legislative Council. They were appointed by the First Labour Government in 1946 (after a law change in 1941 to make women eligible); and they served to 1950 when the Legislative Council was abolished.[13]

Later lifeEdit

In the 1946 New Year Honours, Dreaver was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services in connection with recruiting for the Women's Land Army.[14]

She died in Auckland on 19 July 1961. She was survived by her husband (by only three months), three daughters and two sons.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Laracy, Hugh. "Dreaver, Mary Manson - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Woman minister, Mrs M Dreaver". Papers Past. 1 December 1934.
  3. ^ "Parnell By-Election". CIX (75). The Evening Post. 29 March 1930. p. 11. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Labour Candidate". CIX (79). The Evening Post. 3 April 1930. p. 10. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Municipal elections: Labour Party candidates". Papers Past. 18 March 1931.
  6. ^ "Hospital Board". Papers Past. 22 April 1931.
  7. ^ "Hospital Board: Committees approved". Papers Past. 17 May 1933.
  8. ^ "Hospital Kitchen: Board members action". Papers Past. 20 December 1933.
  9. ^ "Manukau Seat". Auckland Star. LXVII (189). 11 August 1936. p. 9. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Mr. Carr Is Labour Choice For Auckland W." Northern Advocate. 26 April 1940. p. 7. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  11. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 193, 213.
  12. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 193, 221.
  13. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 152.
  14. ^ "No. 37410". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1946. p. 161.


New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Jack Lyon
Member of Parliament for Waitemata
Succeeded by
Henry Thorne Morton