Story: Parliament

Mabel Howard, first female cabinet minister

In 1947 Labour MP Mabel Howard was appointed minister of health and minister in charge of child welfare, making her New Zealand's first woman cabinet minister. Labour were defeated in the election two years later. Howard had been elected as MP for Christchurch East in 1943, and was to remain in Parliament until 1969, with another stint in cabinet from 1957 to 1960, during the second Labour government. In this film clip Howard talks about her 1947 appointment to cabinet, which she saw as an honour for all New Zealand women.

Using this item

Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: Weekly Review 306. National Film Unit, 1947

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

John E. Martin, 'Parliament - Structural changes, 1890s to 1950s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 July 2022)

Story by John E. Martin, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 1 Feb 2015