Prime Ministers (New Zealand)
Where can I find information about the different Prime Ministers of New Zealand?
Entry last updated: 13/01/21
The Prime Minister is the political leader of the New Zealand government and the country. In this entry we will look at what the Prime Minister does. We'll also look at the current Prime Minister and some past Prime Ministers of New Zealand.
Well-known Prime Ministers
The NZHistory site has biographies with information on the following well-known Prime Ministers:
- Richard Seddon (1893 - 1906): Longest serving political leader
- Michael Joseph Savage (1935 - 1940): First labour prime minister
- David Lange (1984 - 1989): Champion of New Zealand’s nuclear free policy
- Jenny Shipley (1997 - 1999): First female prime minister
- Helen Clark (1999 - 2008): First elected female prime minister.
Tips: NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.
The role of Prime Minister
The Prime Minister is the political leader of New Zealand, but what does the Prime Minister do? In this section we'll look at the responsibilities or jobs that the Prime Minister has. We'll also look at the differences between a Prime Minister and a President.
Te Ara is a great place to start for information about Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Use your keywords 'prime minister' to search.
- Select the story about our Premiers and Prime Ministers. It has a page that explains what their job or role is as well as giving some background information.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.
If you're not sure what the difference between a Prime Minister and a President is, check out this site. It explains the differences between the two.
Tips: Some of the uncommon words used in the Wonderopolis article are highlighted. If you hover your mouse or tap on the highlighted word it will open a bubble explaining what the word means.
Past Prime Ministers and Premiers
New Zealand has had 39 Prime Ministers and Premiers and there have been lots of articles and biographies written about them. You'll find some great information about our former Prime Ministers and Premiers on the NZHistory and Te Ara sites listed above and also on the following sites.
This site has a great section all about our Members of Parliament, or MPs. It includes a list of current MPs and past MPs from 2006 backward. This includes former Prime Ministers or PMs such as Helen Clark. It even tells you what their hobbies are!
- To find the list of current MPs go to the MPs and Electorates tab near the top of the page.
- Select the link that says Members of Parliament. You will see an alphabetical list of all the MPs currently in Parliament.
- To view past MPs and Prime Ministers like John Key, click on the Former Members of Parliament tab.
- Choose the name of the MP to see a full biography of the person, eg John Key.
(You may have noticed that former Prime Ministers like Jenny Shipley have the title Right Honourable or Rt Hon. beside their names. These are awarded by the Queen to our Governor-Generals, Prime Ministers, Speakers of the House of Representatives, and Chief Justices. In the past the title has also been awarded to members of the Privy Council.)
This is one of the EPIC resources. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. Britannica School includes biographies of different New Zealand Prime Ministers.
- Choose the school level that is best suited to you.
- Use the keywords 'New Zealand' and 'Prime Ministers' to find articles about this topic.
- There is also a list of Prime Ministers of New Zealand with links to their life stories.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.
Our current Prime Minister
The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand. She was sworn in as Prime Minister on 26 November 2017.
The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern is the leader of the Labour Party as well as our Prime Minister. The Labour Party website has a short biography on her. It includes information on her background, experience and career highlights so far.
Tips: When looking for info on a famous person we always recommend trying to find their official website first, as the information is likely to be more accurate than fan sites.
There have been many books written about New Zealand Prime Ministers, check out your local public or school library to see what they have.
Some recommended titles:
- Helen Clark : Prime Minister of New Zealand by Allan R. Kirk
- Running the country : a look inside New Zealand's government by Maria Gill
- From the Bay of Islands to the Beehive : government in Aotearoa New Zealand by Denny Newburn.
SCIS no: 1832059