We lose another great Kiwi in Mike Moore

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Staff Reporter

New Zealand lost another great son in the passing of Mike Moore on February 2, 2020.

The former Prime Minister was 71 years old.

His wife Yvonne Moore said that he died at home.

A special service, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, was held in his memory at Dilworth School in Auckland on February 14, 2020.

Health issues

Mr Moore, who was the country’s 34th Prime Minister, suffered a stroke in 2015 when he was New Zealand’s Ambassador in Washington DC and had been in declining health in recent years.

His wife Yvonne Moore said that Mr Moore had numerous health issues since his stroke.

“Mike was born in Whakatane but grew up in Kawakawa and Moerewa in the Far North and wanted to spend his final months in the place that gave him his drive, spirit and courage. Mike wanted to be in Northland one last time so he spent much of summer in Matauri Bay and only came back to Auckland in recent weeks because of his health. Northland made him the battler and fighter for ordinary Kiwis he was throughout his life and career and that was what drove him to become a member of the New Zealand Labour Party at 16-years-old. He was stubborn, optimistic, generous and kind,” she said.

Connecting with people

He had an ability to connect with people from all walks of life.

“Having left school at 15 for a job in the freezing works, Mike always believed that his love of reading and hard work would overcome his lack of formal education. Mike was a good reminder to the Labour Party of its working class roots and will probably be its last blue collar Prime Minister.

“Mike was a passionate believer in the power of government to advance people through the collective provision of health and education and how that was the ladder up for ordinary working men and women and their families,” Ms Moore said.

International leader

She said that in keeping with Labour’s traditions he was a committed internationalist.

“As Trade Minister he helped give New Zealand a confident outward view of itself in the world. He also came to believe in the power of a rules based global trading system and how that, more than international aid, could lift nations out of poverty. He was a great humanist and a passionate free trader,” Ms Moore said.

Political career

First elected to the Auckland seat of Eden in 1972, Mr Moore was New Zealand’s youngest Member of Parliament at 23-years-old. He held the seat for one term and was defeated in the Rob Muldoon landslide victory in 1975. Soon after, he had the first of his three bouts of cancer.

In 1978, he was elected to the Christchurch seat of Papanui, defeating National Cabinet Minister Bert Walker. He held that seat, which later became Christchurch North and Waimakariri, until his retirement from Parliament in 1999.

In the fourth Labour Government from 1984 to 1990, Mr Moore held the portfolios of Overseas Trade & Marketing, Tourism, Sport & Recreation, America’s Cup, External Relations & Trade, Deputy Finance, and Foreign Affairs.

He was the 11th Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party and, therefore, Prime Minister and later Leader of the Opposition, from September 4, 1990 until December 1, 1993.

Mr Moore was the World Trade Organisation’s third Director General, the highest international role ever held by a New Zealander, from 1999 to 2002 and oversaw China’s entry into the global rules based trading system. He also launched the Doha Development Round in 2002.

He was appointed New Zealand Ambassador to the United States in 2010 and played a significant role in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement and enhancing the relationship between the two countries.

Awards and Citations

Mr Moore’s “School Aid” charity, which is run through his old school Dilworth in Auckland and was created in 2009, has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in development aid to schools in Africa.

In 1999, he was awarded the Order of New Zealand, the nation’s highest honour, and in 2012 was awarded the Order of Australia (Honorary Officer). He also had five honorary doctorates in Commerce, Economics and Law.

Mike Moore (INL File Photo)

Photo Caption: Mike Moore (File Photo)


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