Ernest Corbett

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The Honourable
Ernest Corbett
27th Minister of Māori Affairs
In office
13 December 1949 26 September 1957
Prime Minister Sidney Holland
Keith Holyoake
Preceded by Peter Fraser
Succeeded by Keith Holyoake
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Egmont
In office
1943  26 September 1957
Succeeded by William Sheat
Personal details
Born(1898-05-07)7 May 1898
Okato, Taranaki
Died 15 June 1968(1968-06-15) (aged 70)
New Plymouth, Taranaki
Political party National
Spouse(s) Doris Eileen Sharp (m. 1923)
Children Two sons

Ernest Bowyer Corbett (7 May 1898 – 15 June 1968) was a New Zealand National Party politician.



New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1943 1946 27th Egmont National
1946 1949 28th Egmont National
1949 1951 29th Egmont National
1951 1954 30th Egmont National
1954 1957 31st Egmont National

He held the Egmont electorate from 1943 to 1957. [1] He was Minister of Māori Affairs, Minister of Lands and Minister of Forests in the First National Government. [2] As Māori Affairs Minister he worked closely with Māori statesman Āpirana Ngata, and spent much of his time implementing "Ngata’s policies". [3]

Corbett fell ill and, according to Wilson (1985), retired at the end of the parliamentary term on 29 October 1957, [1] or, according to his biographer, in September 1957, [3] shortly before his government's defeat. He died on 15 June 1968. [3]

In April 2010 it was alleged by Muru Walters that in 1956 Corbett told the Māori All Blacks to deliberately lose to the Springboks "for the future of rugby" however several other players in the team contradict Walters accusation and state Corbett never asked them to deliberately throw the game. The Māori team lost 37–0. This was followed by Walters calling for the government to apologise for the way it treated Māori rugby players. [4]


  1. 1 2 Wilson 1985, p. 190.
  2. Wilson 1985.
  3. 1 2 3 Butterworth, Graham. "Corbett, Ernest Bowyer". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  4. "Rugby: Maori told to throw match against Boks". The New Zealand Herald . 13 April 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2010.


New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Charles Wilkinson
Member of Parliament for Egmont
Succeeded by
William Sheat
Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Fraser
Minister of Māori Affairs
Succeeded by
Keith Holyoake