This page was last updated on 30 September 2021

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder





























Index of first names

Norman Vazez Douglas, politician





Norman Vazey DouglasNorman Vazey Douglas, QSO (15 March 1910 – 26 August 1985) was a New Zealand trade unionist and left-wing politician. He joined the New Zealand Labour Party in 1932, but when John A. Lee was expelled from the party in 1940, Douglas followed to join the new Democratic Labour Party. He rejoined the Labour Party in 1952 and represented the Auckland Central electorate in Parliament from 1960 until his retirement in 1975, serving time on the Opposition front bench.

Douglas was born in Hikurangi in 1910, the son of a policeman. He lost his left arm in a duck-shooting accident in 1927. Joining the Grey Lynn branch of the Labour Party in 1932, he became a close friend of Member of Parliament (MP) John A. Lee (who lost his left arm in World War I). He became president of the branch in 1935. That same year he was elected to the Auckland City Council for Labour and served three years until Labour's defeat. He became the assistant secretary of the Auckland Coach and Car Builders' Union and the Auckland Brewers', Wine and Spirit Merchants' Employees' Union in 1936, and then secretary of both unions the following year, remaining in that post for the latter union until 1963. He was secretary of the Auckland Trades Council from 1939 to 1941 and led the Labour Party's Junior Labour League.

When Lee was expelled from the Labour Party in 1940, Douglas left also and helped him set up the Democratic Labour Party. He was a member of the party's national executive and edited John A. Lee's Weekly. He ran for Parliament in 1941 and 1943 but was defeated. He operated a bookselling business for about 15 years from 1944, first with Lee and then on his own after he and Lee fell out in 1954.

Douglas rejoined the Labour Party in 1952. When his father-in-law Bill Anderton, Labour MP for Auckland Central, retired from Parliament in 1960, Douglas was elected in his place. He served as president of the Labour Party from 1966 to 1970, and sat on the Opposition front bench as spokesperson for education, social security and industrial relations from 1967 to 1972. When Labour came to power in 1972, Douglas missed selection for cabinet and took himself to the back benches in disappointment. He retired from Parliament at the 1975 general election.

Douglas was awarded a QSO in 1976. He died in Auckland in 1985.




Norman Vazey Douglas is the son of George Nicole Douglas and Ellen Margaret Vazey who married in 1903.

George Nicole Douglas had other children, William George Douglas born 1909 in NZ, Roderick born 1911, Thomas Charles born 1905, Gordon Nicole born 1904, Eric born 1911, Elva May born 1907.

George Nicole Douglas died in 1929 aged 57. (Bdm online) So he was born abt 1872.

An unverified source states that the parents of George Nicole Douglas were William George Douglas and Rachel Reid. I would welcome confirmation of this.


Douglas married Dorothy Jennie Anderton, a daughter of fellow politician Bill Anderton, in 1937. They had one daughter and three sons. Two sons, Roger Douglas and Malcolm Douglas, also became Labour MPs, the former becoming Minister of Finance and later founder and leader of the right-wing ACT New Zealand party.





Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



Errors and Omissions

The Forum

What's new?

We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know


Many articles are stubs which would benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


You are not authorized to add this page or any images from this page to (or its subsidiaries) or other fee-paying sites without our express permission and then, if given, only by including our copyright and a URL link to the web site.


If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.


2 Minute Survey

To provide feedback on the website, please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey.


We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.

Help with costs

Maintaining the three sections of the site has its costs.  Any contribution the defray them is very welcome



If you would like to receive a very occasional newsletter - Sign up!



Back to top


The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

Contact Us

Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024