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Phillip Albert Amos QSO (4 September 1925 – 8 June 2007) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Early lifeEdit

Amos was born in Wanganui in 1925, the son of John Amos. He received his education at Otorohanga District High School, later renamed as Otorohanga College. He attended Auckland Teachers College followed by the University of Auckland. He was a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) pilot in the Pacific in World War II. From 1946 to 1963, he was a teacher.[1]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1963–1966 34th Manurewa Labour
1966–1969 35th Manurewa Labour
1969–1972 36th Manurewa Labour
1972–1975 37th Manurewa Labour

In 1960 he stood for Labour in the Rodney electorate, coming second. He was the Member of Parliament for Manurewa from 1963 to 1975, when he was defeated.[2] He was the Minister of Education in the Third Labour Government from 1972 to 1975,[3] and also served as the last Minister of Island Affairs from 1973 to 1974.[4][5] As Minister of Education, he drove the integration of Catholic schools, and the reduction of class sizes.

Later lifeEdit

In 1976 while protesting the visit of US cruiser Long Beach in his small yacht the Dolphin he was convicted of obstruction, but won on appeal with the help of then lawyer David Lange. As a friend of the Tanzanian President Nyerere, he lived in a remote part of Tanzania from 1976 to 1988. Disillusioned with Rogernomics, he joined and was president of the NewLabour Party after his return to Auckland. He was a Swahili interpreter/translator.

Amos was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.[6] In the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services.[7]

He married Jill Edwina Turner in 1949, the daughter of Ross Turner, and had two sons and one daughter with her.[1] His second marriage was to Odilia. He died in Auckland in 2007.[8]


  1. ^ a b Traue 1978, p. 42.
  2. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 180.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 92–93.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 92.
  5. ^ New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, Vols. 382-389 (1973-1974).
  6. ^ Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 345. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.
  7. ^ "No. 53697". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 June 1994. pp. 34–35.
  8. ^ "Obituary". The Dominion Post. 14 June 2007. p. B7.


  • Traue, James Edward, ed. (1978). Who's Who in New Zealand (11th ed.). Wellington: Reed.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840–1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.

Further readingEdit

  • Directions. Series eleven, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Radio New Zealand Replay Radio, 1994
  • This interview was conducted by Neville Glasgow. This interview is cassette # 69 in this series.
  • Interview with Phil Amos [Auckland College of Education and Old A's oral Archives Project], Auckland, [N.Z.]: n.p., 2006
  • This interview was conducted by Richard Thompson.
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Manurewa
Succeeded by
Merv Wellington
Political offices
Preceded by
Herbert Pickering
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Les Gandar