Bill Sullivan (politician)

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Sullivan c. 1949

Sir William Sullivan KCMG (8 December 1891 – 17 March 1967), in later life known as Bill Sullivan, was a New Zealand politician of the National Party.


He was born in Inglewood in 1891 to Irish parents Samuel John Sullivan and Sarah Maria (née Acton). Sullivan received his education in Inglewood and Stratford.[1] He was a Taranaki rugby representative. He served in World War I in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) and in World War II at Trentham Military Camp in New Zealand. He set up a construction company in the Bay of Plenty, and in Whakatane was Mayor 1925–1938, the Harbour Board Chairman 1923–1926 and on the Council for almost 26 years.[2]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1941–1943 26th Bay of Plenty National
1943–1946 27th Bay of Plenty National
1946–1949 28th Bay of Plenty National
1949–1951 29th Bay of Plenty National
1951–1954 30th Bay of Plenty National
1954–1957 31st Bay of Plenty National

Sullivan was one of three candidates in the 1931 election in the Tauranga electorate. He was a member of the United Party, but Charles MacMillan was the official candidate of the United-Reform Coalition, hence Sullivan stood as an Independent. He was defeated by MacMillan.[3] Sullivan represented the Bay of Plenty electorate from a 1941 by-election after the death of Gordon Hultquist to 13 February 1957, when he resigned following the death of his son who ran the family construction business.[4]

He was the Minister of Labour, Mines, Housing and the State Advances Corporation in the First National Government from 1949 to 1957, including the period of the 1951 Waterfront dispute. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 1957 Birthday Honours.[5]

Personal life

On 12 September 1916, Sullivan married Elvina Coral Brayshaw at Stratford. They had a family of three daughters and four sons. Three of his sons died before him, and his wife died in 1963. He died in Whakatane on 17 March 1967.[1]


  1. ^ a b Templeton, Hugh. "Sullivan, William". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  2. ^ Gustafson 1986, p. 345.
  3. ^ The General Election, 1931. Government Printer. 1932. p. 4. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 237.
  5. ^ "No. 41091". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1957. p. 3413.


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Gordon Hultquist
Member of Parliament for Bay of Plenty
Succeeded by
Percy Allen
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