ZEALAND Mr Michael Joseph Savage, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, died at Wellington on Tuesday, March 27, at the age of 68.
Mr Savage, who was New Zealand's first Labour Prime Minister,
had been in turn errand boy, labourer at an irrigation darn, and miner before he became M.P. for Auckland West in 1919.
Mr Savage was the son of a small farmer of Victoria, Australia. He left school at 14 and became a shop assistant. After the big bank crash of 1893 he turned to mining. He first became interested in the Co-operative movement in 1900. In 1907 he went to New Zealand, where he settled permanently at Auckland.
He became leader of the New Zealand Labour Party in 1933. In 1935, after the most sweeping electoral victory in the history of the Dominion, Labour took office for the first time with Mr Savage as Prime Minister, Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Native Affairs, Minister for the Cook Islands, and Minister in Charge of Native Trust, Legislative, Electoral, Audit and High Commissioner's Departments, Big improvements in social services, wage rates. working conditions, stand to the credit of this Government. In 1937 Mr Savage headed the New Zealand delegation at the Coronation of King George VI.
Since an operation, performed last August, Mr Savage had hardly been able to exert his full strength, but he led New Zealand into the war with the determination that was typical of him.
In a broadcast message to his people last November, he said that " To win the war they must stick it out with stout hearts as their fathers did before them." With his presence, manner, and voice—above all by his modesty and unselfishness—Mr Savage had obtained a firm hold on the affections of New Zealanders, and he will be greatly missed. Mr Savage was unmarried.
The High Commissioner of New Zealand has sent a telegram to the Acting Prime Minister, Mr Peter Fraser, expressing the deep sympathy of himself, his staff, and other New Zealanders and friends in Great Britain in the great loss which the Dominion has suffered.