Early Life: 1882-1910:
Political Beginnings: 1911-1935:
Minister of Finance in first Labour Government: 1935-1949:
Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister: 1950-1968:
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1882 - Born in Kidderminster, 12 February, a town in the English city of Worcerstershire. (He was the fifth of six children born of Alfred Arthur Nash and Amelia Randle.)
1885-1893 - Attended St. John’s School.
1893-1894 - Won a scholarship to King Charles Grammar School, but couldn’t accept due to parents’ lack of funds. Instead, became an office boy for a local solicitor.
1896 - Family moved to Selly Oak near Birmingham, where Nash worked for 12 years, mainly as a clerk in a bicycle factory.
1906 - Married Lottie May Easton at Selly Oak
1908 - Wife and son ill, daughter died shortly after birth.
1909 - After the economic recession affected his business he and his family emigrated to New Zealand, arriving in Wellington – mid-1909. Nash settled in Brooklyn (where two more sons were born) and became the secretary and shareholder of a small tailoring firm, Jones and Ashdown.
1911 - Nash assisted the recently formed New Zealand Labour Party in its election campaign in Wellington.
1913 - After losing nearly all his money through the deteriorating business fortunes of Jones and Ashdown, he moved his family to Palmerston North where he became a commercial traveller for Miller and Ahearn. He also continued to improve his education through WEA where he met socialists including Peter Fraser, Bob Semple and Harry Holland.
1916 - Moved to New Plymouth. Established a co-operative tailoring company with Bill Besley (although the business performed poorly)
1918 - Helped to establish the New Plymouth branch of the New Zealand Labour Party. He was also active in the Anglican Church and helped co-ordinate responses to the 1918 influenza epidemic.
1920 - Nash and his wife travelled to Europe, attending various socialist conferences. Fined for importing ‘seditious literature’ on his return in January of 1921.
1921 - Returned to Wellington where he worked hard in trying to establish new businesses.
1922 - Was elected National Secretary of the Labour Party, in which role he proved extremely effective.
1926 - Became an inaugural member of the New Zealand Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations, reflecting his growing interest in international relations, a subject closely linked with his pacifism and his concern for the world’s poor and hungry.
1927 - Led the delegation to the International Pacific Relations’ second conference in Honolulu.
1929 - Won the Hutt electoral seat at a by-election in 1929 following unsuccessful attempts to stand for Parliament as a candidate for the same electorate in 1925 and 1928. He would hold the Hutt seat for the rest of his life until his death in 1968.
1933-1938 - Served on the Wellington Harbour Board.
1935 - The New Zealand Labour Party was elected to power for the first time. Nash was appointed to Cabinet as Minister of Finance, and was also one of its main spokesmen, along with Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage and Peter Fraser.
1936 - Nash sailed to England on a mission to persuade the British to accept bulk trade agreements, which he saw as essential to the guaranteed price scheme.
1937 - Continued to negotiate for bulk trade agreements until April, when he visited Berlin and Moscow. Then returned to England accompanied by Savage for the coronation of King George VI.
1938 - Nash became in charge of social security introducing the Social Security Act after the 1938 election.
1939 - Visited London again in relation to loans and import controls then visited Washington on the way home before arriving in NZ just before New Zealand joined the War.
1940 - Nash elected Deputy Prime Minister following the death of Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage. Peter Fraser became Prime Minister.
1941 - Was Acting Prime Minister of New Zealand from May to September while Fraser was overseas.
1942 - Was sent to Washington as New Zealand’s Resident Minister to the United States. Attended the Pacific War Council, participated in the political life of Washington, and travelled, giving speeches publicising New Zealand throughout the country.
1943 - Presented the budget and fought the 1943 general election which Labour again won. December 1943 he flew back to the United States, passing through Australia, where he suggested a post-war Pacific Islands Federation under Allied trusteeship.
1944 - Spent time in London, then returned to the United States, where he attended the International Labour Organisation Conference (of which he was elected president). He was also involved in the Bretton Woods Conference which created the IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
1946 - Attended the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meeting in London
1947-1948 - Attended a series of conferences in 1947 and 1948 in Geneva, Hawaii, New York and London discussing proposed GATT [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade]
1949 - The Labour Party lost office ending 14 years in power
1950 - Labour’s leader and former Prime Minister Peter Fraser died in December.
1951 - Nash elected unopposed as Labour’s leader January 1951. The Waterfront Strike dispute a big issue in New Zealand this year.
1953 - Attended the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London.
1957 - Labour wins election and Nash became Prime Minister of New Zealand, a position that he retained until 1960.
1958 - New Zealand’s balance of payments problem leads to Nordmeyer’s ‘Black Budget’
1959 - The All Blacks’ tour of South Africa, which excluded all players of Maori descent a contentious issue.
1960 - National win the 1960 election, leaving Nash the leader of the Opposition again. He remained the Leader of the Labour Party until he was succeeded by Nordmeyer in 1963.
1961 - In December 1961, Nash’s wife, Lottie May Easton died.
1965 - Received GCMG, played a prominent role in protest movement against sending New Zealand troops to Vietnam.
1968 - Died in Lower Hutt 4 June 1968, survived by two sons. In the words of Barry Gustafson, ‘Few New Zealand politicians in the twentieth century had such an impact over such a long time.’
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