Politician and ambassador. Died aged 86.

Former Labour Cabinet minister and ambassador Philip North Holloway has died in Auckland, aged 86.

He was appointed Minister of Industries and Commerce and Minister in charge of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) in 1957, posts he held for three years under Prime Minister Walter Nash. Holloway was involved in first discussions which led eventually to the Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, and was instrumental in the establishment of Pacific Steel and bauxite processing at Bluff.


He received wide publicity for a protracted libel action against Truth, claiming that an article in the newspaper implied that he had acted dishonestly in the issue of import licences. The case began in April, 1959, and ended 14 months later with an award to Holloway of £11,000 ($22,000), enough then for him to buy a half-share in a dairy farm.

Born in Hokitika, Holloway was educated at Waitaki Boys' High School and Otago University. He abandoned his university studies to go overseas in the mid-1930s, working his passage as a seaman, and sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door in England before travelling on to the United States and attending Boston University. At the outbreak of war Holloway came home and joined the Army, serving as second lieutenant in the 26th Battalion in North Africa and Italy.

He won the Heretaunga seat for Labour in 1954, but resigned, still with a huge majority, when National came to power in 1960.

Holloway was appointed managing director of Chandris Lines NZ, and in 1973 was invited to be New Zealand ambassador to Italy. His parish included Yugoslavia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and although resident in Rome, he was accredited as High Commissioner to Malta.

In the Queen's Birthday honours in 1986 Holloway received the CMG.

He is survived by his second wife, Beverley, daughters Elizabeth and Linda and son Michael, four grandsons and three granddaughters.