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Ron Stanley Mark (born 29 January 1954) is a New Zealand politician of the New Zealand First party, and former soldier, who since October 2017 has served as Minister of Defence. He served as mayor of Carterton from 2010 to 2014.

Ron Mark

Ron Mark, 2018.jpg
40th Minister of Defence
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byMark Mitchell
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for New Zealand First list
Assumed office
20 September 2014
In office
12 October 1996 – 8 November 2008
Mayor of Carterton District
In office
9 October 2010 – September 2014
Preceded byGary McPhee
Succeeded byJohn Booth
Personal details
Born (1954-01-29) 29 January 1954 (age 65)
Masterton, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyLabour (1990–1993)
New Zealand First (1996–present)
Spouse(s)Gail Mark (separated)
OccupationBusiness owner/operator
Military service
Allegiance New Zealand
Branch/serviceNew Zealand Army
Sultan's Special Forces
Years of service1971–1986; 1985–1990
UnitMultinational Force and Observers
AwardsNew Zealand Operational Service Medal
New Zealand General Service Medal (Sinai)
New Zealand Defence Service Medal
Multinational Service Medal and Bar
Order of the Special Royal Emblem for expatriate officers
The Oman Peace Medal
The Glorious Fifteenth National Day Medal

Early life and familyEdit

Mark was born in Masterton on 29 January 1954, the son of Apiti Stanley Maaka and Te Aroha Maaka (née Grace).[1] He was educated at Tararua College from 1968 to 1970. Mark was married to Gail Ann Berry, and the couple had four children.[1]

Mark pursued a military career between 1971 and 1990.[1] Mark initially served in the New Zealand Army. His first unit was the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers before moving to 2/1 Battalion, 3 and 10 Tpt Regiments and Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles before passing New Zealand Special Air Service selection.[2] Mark served a 13-month tour of duty in the Sinai with the Multinational Force and Observers in 1982–83. After being refused entry into the NZSAS, he was contracted to the Sultanate of Oman as a technical staff officer from 1985 to 1986, and then joined the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces becoming an electrical and mechanical engineering officer in the Sultan's Special Force Electrical and Mechanical Engineers between 1986 and 1990.[1][3]

Between 1990 and 1996, Mark was a commercial consultant, ran an import and export business, and was an amusement park operator.[1]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1999 45th List 11 NZ First
1999–2002 46th List 4 NZ First
2002–2005 47th List 4 NZ First
2005–2008 48th List 4 NZ First
2014–2017 51st List 9 NZ First
2017–present 52nd List 2 NZ First

In the 1993 election he was the Labour candidate for the Selwyn electorate. He was later involved in the discussions about the formation of the New Zealand Democratic Coalition. When these failed, he joined New Zealand First.

He was a list MP from the 1996 election until his party's failure to retain any seats in the 2008 election. During the (1996–98) coalition between New Zealand First and the National Party, he was the government's Senior Whip.


The New Zealand television channel TV3 was banned for three days from filming in Parliament in August 2006 for showing Mark repeatedly giving the finger to another MP.[4]

In 2009, Mark told media that while he still had a subscription with New Zealand First, he was "not active", and that he would not rule out standing for Parliament with another party.[5]

Mayor of CartertonEdit

In 2010, Mark was elected Mayor of Carterton in the Wairarapa. He succeeded outspoken mayor Gary McPhee who retired after two terms.[6] In the 2013 local elections, Mark was returned as mayor unopposed.[7]

Return to parliamentEdit

Mark stood as a New Zealand First candidate at the 2014 general election, finishing third in the Wairarapa electorate.[8] However, his ninth placing on the New Zealand First list saw him returned to Parliament, and he resigned as Mayor of Carterton, and was replaced by John Booth.[8]

On 3 July 2015, he replaced Tracey Martin as deputy leader of New Zealand First.[9] Following the 2017 election, Mark was appointed Minister of Defence and Veterans following the formation of a coalition government consisting of the Labour Party, New Zealand First, and the Green Party.[10] Mark was succeeded as New Zealand First deputy leader by Fletcher Tabuteau on 27 February 2018.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Taylor, Alister, ed. (2001). New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa 2001. Auckland: Alister Taylor Publishers. pp. 577–578. ISSN 1172-9813.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "TV3 punished for showing finger gesture". The New Zealand Herald. 28 August 2006. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Ron Mark turns back on NZ First". The New Zealand Herald. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  6. ^ Katterns, Tanya (11 October 2010). "Carterton mayor off with a bang". Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  7. ^ "2013 Local Government Elections Nominations". Carterton District Council. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  8. ^ a b Harris, Caleb (21 September 2014). "Bittersweet return for Mark". Dominion Post. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  9. ^ Jones, Nicholas (3 July 2015). "Ron Mark new NZ First deputy leader". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Ministerial List". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  11. ^ Moir, Jo (27 February 2018). "NZ First appoints Fletcher Tabuteau as its new deputy leader - rolling Ron Mark". Retrieved 27 February 2018.
Political offices
Preceded by
Mark Mitchell
Minister of Defence
Party political offices
Preceded by
Tracey Martin
Deputy leader of New Zealand First
Succeeded by
Fletcher Tabuteau