George Chapman (party president)

Last updated

Sir George Chapman
Sir George Chapman.jpg
Chapman in 2019
8th President of the National Party
In office
Preceded by Ned Holt
Succeeded by Sue Wood
Personal details
George Alan Chapman

(1927-04-13) 13 April 1927 (age 92)
Trentham Military Camp, New Zealand
Political party National

Sir George Alan Chapman (born 13 April 1927) is a New Zealand accountant, businessman and company director. He was president of the National Party from 1973 to 1982.

New Zealand National Party Major New Zealand political party

The New Zealand National Party, shortened to National or the Nats, is a centre-right political party in New Zealand. It is one of two major parties that dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the New Zealand Labour Party.


Early life

He was born in the Trentham Military Camp, Trentham where his ex-British Army father was chief armourer. His parents were Thomas "Tom" George Chapman and Winifred "Wyn" Jordan Chapman. [1] [2] He was educated at Trentham Primary School, [1] Hutt Valley High School and Victoria University of Wellington. [3]

Trentham Military Camp

Trentham Military Camp is a New Zealand Defence Force facility located in Trentham, Upper Hutt, near Wellington. Originally an Army installation, it is now run by Defence and accommodates all three services. It also hosts Joint NZDF facilities including:

Trentham is the most populous suburb of Upper Hutt, a city in the Wellington region of New Zealand. The suburb is located in a widening of the Hutt Valley, five kilometres to the southwest of the Upper Hutt city centre.

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

Political career

Chapman joined the National Party in 1948, and was chairman of the Young Nationals for two years, electorate secretary (1953–58) and chairman (1960–66) of Heretaunga, Wellington Division chairman (1966–73), Dominion Councillor (1964–85), and was party vice-president between 1966 and 1973. [3] [1] In 1971, he challenged the incumbent, Ned Holt, for the presidency of the National Party but lost the vote. He was elected president of the National Party in 1973 and held that role until 1982, and was described as "one of the National Party's most influential presidents" by political historian Barry Gustafson. [3]

Heretaunga (New Zealand electorate) Former New Zealand electorate

Heretaunga is a former New Zealand parliamentary electorate, in the city of Upper Hutt, that existed from 1954 until 1996.

Barry Selwyn Gustafson is a New Zealand political scientist and historian, and a leading political biographer. He served for nearly four decades as Professor of Political Studies at the University of Auckland, and as Acting Director of the New Zealand Asia Institute from 2004 to 2006. He has contested various general elections, first for the Labour Party and later for the National Party, coming second each time.

He was an Upper Hutt borough councillor from 1952 to 1955 and served as deputy mayor between 1953 and 1955. [3]

Upper Hutt City in Wellington, New Zealand

Upper Hutt is a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand, and one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington metropolitan area.

The Mayor of Upper Hutt is the head of the municipal government of Upper Hutt, New Zealand, and presides over the Upper Hutt City Council. The mayor is directly elected using a First Past the Post electoral system. The Upper Hutt Town Board had seven chairmen, with the role regarded as the predecessor role of mayor. The Upper Hutt Borough Council was proclaimed in 1926, and with that the role of mayor was introduced. In 1966, Upper Hutt became a city council. The current mayor, Wayne Guppy, is the eleventh since the role was created in 1926, and he was first elected in 2001.

In 1977, Chapman was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal, [4] and in the 1982 Queen's Birthday Honours he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for political and public services. [5]

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal

The Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal was a commemorative medal created in 1977 to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of Elizabeth II's accession in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The medal was physically identical in all realms where it was awarded, save for Canada, where it contained unique elements. As an internationally distributed award, the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal holds a different place in each country's order of precedence for honours.

Queen's Birthday Honours are announced on or around the date of the Queen's Official Birthday in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The dates vary, both from year to year and from country to country. All are published in supplements to the London Gazette and many are conferred by the monarch some time after the date of the announcement, particularly for those service people on active duty.

The dignity of Knight Bachelor is the basic and lowest rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised orders of chivalry; it is a part of the British honours system. Knights Bachelor are the most ancient sort of British knight, but Knights Bachelor rank below knights of chivalric orders.

His memoir The Years of Lightning covers several noteworthy general events; the 1969 election, 1972 election, 1975 election, 1978 election, and the period with Robert Muldoon as party leader.

1969 New Zealand general election

The 1969 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of Parliament's 36th term. It saw the Second National Government headed by Prime Minister Keith Holyoake of the National Party win a fourth consecutive term.

1972 New Zealand general election

The New Zealand general election of 1972 was held on 25 November to elect MPs to the 37th session of the New Zealand Parliament. The Labour Party, led by Norman Kirk, defeated the governing National Party.

1975 New Zealand general election

The 1975 New Zealand general election was held on 29 November to elect MPs to the 38th session of the New Zealand Parliament. It was the first general election in New Zealand where 18- to 20-year-olds and all permanent residents of New Zealand were eligible to vote, although only citizens were able to be elected.

Commercial career

In 1948 when aged 20, he became the borough treasurer for Upper Hutt. [6] Later in the same year, he became a partner in an accountancy firm that was later called Saunders and Chapman and then became Chapman Upchurch. [1] He retired as senior partner in 2000.[ citation needed ]

Chapman has, since 1948, been a member of the New Zealand Society of Accountants (MNZSA) and was made a fellow (FCA) in 1969. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries & Administrators (FCIS) and a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. [1] He was chairman of the Upper Hutt Chamber of Commerce. [6]

He was chairman of the Housing Corporation (1992–95) and chaired the Housing New Zealand Establishment Board (April–July 1992).[ citation needed ] He was chairman of the Building Industry Authority (1992–2000). When the Minister of Internal Affairs, George Hawkins, accused him of having known about the leaky building problem, Chapman denied any knowledge and stated that the board was first informed in August 2001, i.e. after his tenure. [7]

Chapman was a director for several companies including the Bank of New Zealand (1968–86, including deputy chairman 1976–86), [1] BNZ Finance (1977–88), Maui Developments Ltd 1979–85, [3] Skellerup Industries Ltd (1982–90), Pilkington (NZ) (1982–94), Norwich Union (NZ) (formerly Norwich Winterthur NZ; 1982–1992), and State Insurance Ltd (1990–1992). [1]

He was board chairman of Pilkington (NZ) (1989–94), BNZ Finance 1979–88, Mitel Telecommunications (NZ) (1984–91), and Norwich Union (NZ) (1982–85). [1]

Private life

Chapman married Jacqueline Sidney Irvine (born 1928) in 1950; she was the daughter of Murray Russell Irvine. They had two sons and five daughters. [1] His wife died in 2009. [8]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Lambert et al 1991, p. 114.
  2. "Captain Tom Chapman and wife Wyn (parents of Sir George) ca. 1952". Upper Hutt City Libraries. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Gustafson 1986, p. 359.
  4. Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 95. ISBN   0-908578-34-2.
  5. "No. 49010". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1982. p. 39.
  6. 1 2 "George Chapman". Upper Hutt City Libraries. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  7. "Chapman rejects claims he knew of leaky buildings problem". The New Zealand Herald . 16 October 2002. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  8. "Lady Jacqueline Chapman". Tributes Online. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

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Further reading

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ned Holt
President of the National Party
Succeeded by
Sue Wood