David Walter (New Zealand politician)

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David Ernest Walter (born 1939) is a New Zealand politician and journalist. He is the immediate past Chairman of Taranaki Regional Council, past Chairman of Stratford County Council, and the first Mayor of Stratford District Council.


Family background

Walter was born in Douglas, Taranaki. He was the grandson of former County Chairman and Member of Parliament Edward Walter, brother of former diplomat Neil Walter, relative of All Black John Walter, and cousin of All Black Alan Smith.

Journalist and historian

After leaving home, he worked as a journalist in Europe, then returned to Douglas to work as the east-Taranaki stringer for the Taranaki Daily News while working the family sheep and beef farm. He developed a knack for historical stories and human interest tales, and in 1977 accepted the role of Honorary county historian, with the aim of producing a publication for the 1990 centennial.[1] The Stratford Inheritance was published in 1990 and authored by Ian Church, with significant input from Walter's work.[2]

Local politics

In 1974 Walter was elected as a Stratford County councillor, and in 1983 was appointed Chairman. He continued in this role until the County Council merged with the Stratford Borough Council to form the Stratford District Council as part of nationwide local government reforms in 1989. He played a significant role in preserving Stratford's independence when amalgamation with either the New Plymouth District Council or the South Taranaki District Council was a distinct possibility. Walter was duly elected as the first Mayor of the Stratford District Council, a position he held for three terms (9 years) until retiring in 1998.[3]

Regional politics

After 15 years at the helm of local government and 24 years on County and District Councils, Walter moved on from territorial politics to become a Taranaki Regional Councillor. In November 2001 he replaced inaugural Chairman Ross Leslie Allen and retired in 2007. Walter has also played significant roles in a number of other organisations. He has chaired the TSB Community Trust, served as Director of TSB Bank, and represented the Regional Council on the board of Westgate Transport Ltd.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Puke Ariki: Taranaki Stories: Preserving the Past for the Future
  2. ^ Church, Ian (1990), The Stratford Inheritance. Heritage Press Ltd., Waikanae, New Zealand
  3. ^ Walter, David (2005), Stratford: Shakespearean Town Under the Mountain. Dunmore Publishing, Wellington, New Zealand ISBN 1-877399-05-1
  4. ^ Taranaki Regional Council Newsletter: November 2001 No. 36
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