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Robert Leslie Gapper (Rob) Talbot QSO (18 October 1923 – 13 December 2012) was a New Zealand politician who represented the National Party as a Member of Parliament. A Muldoon loyalist,[1] he was a cabinet minister from 1981 to 1984 in the Third National Government, serving as Postmaster-General and Minister of Tourism.[2]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1966–1969 35th Ashburton National
1969–1972 36th South Canterbury National
1972–1975 37th South Canterbury National
1975–1978 38th South Canterbury National
1978–1981 39th Ashburton National
1981–1984 40th Ashburton National
1984–1987 41st Ashburton National

Talbot represented the Ashburton electorate in Parliament from 1966 to 1969, then the South Canterbury electorate from 1969 to 1978, and then the Ashburton electorate again from 1978 until his retirement in 1987 whereupon he was replaced by Jenny Shipley.

As Postmaster-General he signed off on New Zealand's first cellular network in 1983.[3] In 1984, at a time when the use of Māori phrases was as yet uncommon in New Zealand, an Auckland telephone operator, Naida Glavish, was instructed to stop using "kia ora" when greeting callers after the post office had received a complaint. She refused to do so and was consequently stood down, with the whole affair attracting much public interest. Talbot, as Postmaster-General, is credited with successfully convincing the Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, to overturn that prohibition.[1]

After ParliamentEdit

In the 1991 Queen's Birthday Honours, Talbot was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services.[4]

On 4 July 2007, Talbot was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from former United States Ambassador to New Zealand Bill McCormick for his efforts in fostering positive relations between the United States and New Zealand during his tenure with the New Zealand American Association.[5]

Talbot died on 13 December 2012 in Wellington. His wife Anne had died before him. He was survived by partner, Wilhelmina Pondman, one son, and two daughters.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Crean, Mike (22 December 2012). "Rob Talbot dies, top advocate for Sth Canty". The Timaru Herald. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Obituaries — Hon Robert Leslie Gapper Talbot QSO". NZ House of Representatives. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  3. ^ McDonald, Greer (12 July 2008). "It beats the brick, says Rob". Dominion Post. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  4. ^ "No. 52564". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1991. p. 31.
  5. ^ "Ambassador Bill McCormick remarks for 4th July" (PDF). Office of Public Affairs, US Embassy, Wellington. 4 July 2007. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
Political offices
Preceded by
John Falloon
Succeeded by
Jonathan Hunt
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Richard Geoffrey Gerard
Member of Parliament for Ashburton
In abeyance
Title next held by
In abeyance
Title last held by
Succeeded by
Jenny Shipley
New constituency Member of Parliament for South Canterbury
Constituency abolished