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Sir Walter James Broadfoot KBE (6 April 1881 – 10 September 1965) was a New Zealand politician of the United Party, and from 1936, the National Party. He was a cabinet minister from 1949 to 1954 in the First National Government.

Sir Walter Broadfoot

Walter Broadfoot.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Waitomo
In office
14 November 1928 – 5 October 1954
Preceded byJohn Rolleston
Succeeded byDavid Seath
Personal details
Born(1881-04-06)6 April 1881
Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Died10 September 1965(1965-09-10) (aged 84)
Political partyUnited


Early lifeEdit

Broadfoot was born in 1881 at Lower Hutt. He received his education at Wellesley Street Public School and Kihikihi School. His first employment was with the Auckland Post Office as a messenger, and this was followed by work as a journalist for the New Zealand Observer. At night, he studied towards a law degree, which led to employment as a clerk in Hamilton in 1907, followed by setting up his own practice in rural Waikato's Te Kuiti in the following year. He specialised in native affairs and land problems.[1] He married Dorothy Caroline Metcalfe (1884-1945), daughter of Henry Hulbert Metcalfe at St. Mary's Cathedral, Parnell, on 20 December 1910.[2] They had two daughters, Beverley and Merron.[3]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1928–1931 23rd Waitomo United
1931–1935 24th Waitomo United
1935–1936 25th Waitomo United
1936–1938 Changed allegiance to: National
1938–1943 26th Waitomo National
1943–1946 27th Waitomo National
1943–1946 27th Waitomo National
1946–1949 28th Waitomo National
1949–1951 29th Waitomo National
1951–1954 30th Waitomo National

From 1923 to 1935, he was first deputy mayor and then mayor of Te Kuiti.[1] He was first elected to Parliament in the 1928 election as a member of the United Party, when he defeated Reform's John Rolleston in the Waitomo electorate.[4] On 23 April 1936, he became junior party whip during the United/Reform Coalition, just prior to the formation of the National Party resulting from the merger of the Reform and United Parties in mid-May. He became senior whip in 1941, and held that position until 1949, when he became Postmaster-General.[1][5]

In 1942, he was Minister of National Service in the short-lived War Administration.[6] In the First National Government, he was Postmaster-General (1949–1952) and Minister of Telegraphs (1949–1954).[7] He retired from Parliament in 1954.[8]

In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.[9] In 1955, Broadfoot was granted the use of the title of "Honourable" for life, having served more than three years as a member of the Executive Council.[10] He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1955 Queen's Birthday Honours,[11] and died in 1965.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Gustafson 1986, p. 301.
  2. ^ The New Zealand Observer, 24 December 1910, page 8.
  3. ^ Auckland Star 31 May 1945, page 1.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 185, 231.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 280.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 85.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 86.
  8. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 185.
  9. ^ "Official jubilee medals". The Evening Post. 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  10. ^ "No. 40421". The London Gazette. 1 March 1955. p. 1269.
  11. ^ "No. 40499". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 June 1955. pp. 3301–3303.


  • 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.
Political offices
Preceded by
Fred Hackett
and Minister of Telegraphs

Succeeded by
Tom Shand
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
John Rolleston
Member of Parliament for Waitomo
Succeeded by
David Seath