Peter Fraser was born in 1884 and raised in the Scottish Highlands. He left education early in order to support his family, but unemployment led him to emigrate to New Zealand in 1910.
He gained employment in Auckland as a wharfie and became involved in union affairs and the establishment of what became the Labour Party. He spent a year in jail on charges of sedition – for opposing conscription for the First World War.
In 1918 he became the Labour member for Wellington Central – a seat he held for the rest of his life. He served under Michael Joseph Savage becoming a cabinet minister in 1935. He established a universal health care service including free maternity care, free pharmaceuticals, subsidised doctor’s visits and introduced universal secondary schooling.
Following Savage’s death in 1940 Fraser became the Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister. He actively participated in the Allied conduct of the Second World War and the setting up of the United Nations and revealed himself to be a statesman of world stature.
The Labour Party lost the 1949 election and Peter Fraser died in 1950 at age 66. He is regarded today by many historians as one of our most outstanding Prime Ministers and his memorial stands in the centre of Church of England 3 section.