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Maggie Barry

The Honourable
Maggie Barry
Maggie Barry crop.png
Barry in 2010
13th Minister of Conservation
Assumed office
8 October 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Nick Smith
3rd Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
Assumed office
8 October 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Chris Finlayson
Member of the New Zealand Parliament for North Shore
Assumed office
30 November 2011
Preceded by Wayne Mapp
Majority 2011 -15,228 (62.44%)
2014 -16,503 (62.47%)
Personal details
Born Margaret Mary Barry
(1959-10-05) 5 October 1959 (age 57)[1]
Thorndon, New Zealand[1]
Political party National Party
Spouse(s) Grant Kerr
Children 1
Occupation Broadcaster

Margaret Mary "Maggie" Barry ONZM (born 5 October 1959) is a New Zealand politician and a member of the House of Representatives, first elected in the 2011 general election. She is a member of the National Party, and is Minister for Conservation, Seniors Citizens, and Arts, Culture and Heritage. Barry has had a long career in broadcasting, including gardening shows, and has a rose named after her.

Early life

Barry's father was an accountant for the railways, and her mother was a florist. Both were strict Catholics. Barry was born in Wellington and went to Erskine College, a Roman Catholic school in Wellington.[2][3]

Career before politics

Maggie Barry, a Hybrid Tea rose named after her

She was a radio and television presenter for over 30 years.[4] She began her broadcasting career in 1986 on National Radio's Morning Report and moved on to Nine to Noon in 1990. In 1992 she was a news interviewer for TV2's Counterpoint, and she was news presenter for Primetime in 1993.[3][5] Her garden show, originally titled Palmers Garden Show but renamed to Maggie's Garden Show, ran on TV ONE from 1991 to 2003, with her as co-producer and presenter. Featured were ‘bug man’ Ruud Kleinpaste, gardening experts Bill Ward, Jack Hobbs, Gordon Collier and Professor Thomas William Walker ("John Walker").[6] She also produced several television documentaries. In the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours, Barry was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to broadcasting.[7]

In the late 1990s she was a lay representative from the National Health Committee advising the Minister of Health, and was involved in reports on palliative care, cancer, and maternity services. She was the Chair of the Board of the New Zealand Book Council in 2006.[5]

She has been a patron for the Mary Potter Hospice,[8] Alzheimer's Wellington, and Hospice New Zealand.[9]

Barry has written for the New Zealand Listener since 2007, producing a fortnightly gardening column and occasional interview articles.[5]

She hosted Radio Live Drive from March 2009[10] to December 2010.[11]

Member of Parliament

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
2011–2014 50th North Shore 57 National
2014–present 51st North Shore 40 National

Barry was interested in standing for the National Party in the 2011 Botany by-election, but did not become the candidate.[12] She was selected as the National candidate for the safe seat of North Shore in May 2011 after the sitting MP Wayne Mapp decided not to run in the 2011 general election.[13] Placed in number 57 on the National Party list,[14] Barry was elected to Parliament by winning the electorate vote with an increased majority of 41.87% over her nearest rival, a Labour Party candidate. She also increased the Party Vote to 62.16%, 45.9% clear of the Labour Party.[15][16]

During the 2011 election campaign Barry was spat at in Devonport, which appeared to shock her.[17]

On 6 October 2014, Prime Minister John Key appointed Barry to the portfolios of Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage, Minister of Conservation, and Minister for Senior Citizens. She was ranked 20th in Cabinet under the Key Ministry.[18] After Prime Minister Key's resignation, Prime Minister Bill English reshuffled the Cabinet. Barry retained all three of her portfolios and is ranked 18th.[19]

Personal life

She has never married. Her partner, Grant Kerr, is a lawyer.[3] She has a son.[9]

A Hybrid tea rose dark pink rose has been named after her.[20]

On 4 July 2014, Barry said that she was groped by Australian entertainer Rolf Harris when he was in New Zealand during the 1980s and she was recording an interview she hosted from Palmerston North. She said that Harris "came into the studio and they sat down and then he started to do the old wandering hands thing and she stood up and said 'well you can stop that right now'." Barry also said that he turned nasty on her before switching his charm back for the interview.[21][22][23] At the time, a similar celebrity sexual conduct case was in the news, and retired parliamentarian Rodney Hide taunted Barry in his newspaper column, urging her to use her parliamentary privilege to breach the name suppression order against the defendant in the Queenstown suppressed indecency case.[24]


  1. ^ a b "Maiden speech: Maggie Barry". New Zealand National Party. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Lambert, Max (1991) [Originally published in 1908]. Who's Who in New Zealand (12 ed.). Wellington: Reed. p. 36. ISBN 0790001306. 
  3. ^ a b c Woulfe, Catherine (14 March 2010). "Maggie Barry on gardening". Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Her page at Celebrity Speakers website
  5. ^ a b c "Maggie Barry". Captive Audience. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Maggie's Garden Show". NZ On Screen. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Queen's Birthday Honours List 1996. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Mary Potter Hospice Ambassador". Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Maggie Barry 50 Forward article". RadioLIVE. 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "Maggie Barry Announced as New Radio Live Drive Host". MediaWorks NZ. 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "Maggie Barry Farewells Radio Live". MediaWorks NZ. 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Main parties pick candidates for Botany by-election". Radio New Zealand. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  13. ^ "Maggie Barry selected as National's North Shore candidate". The National Business Review. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "Party lists for the 2011 General Election". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  15. ^ "Official Count Results -- North Shore". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  16. ^ "Official Count Results -- Successful Candidates". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  17. ^ 'Shaken', 'shocked' Nats Maggie Barry spat at on Shore New Zealand Herald, 22 November 2011
  18. ^ "Ministerial List | DPMC". Retrieved 2016-01-06. 
  19. ^ "Ministerial List | DPMC". Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  20. ^ "Maggie Barry". Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "Maggie Barry: I was groped by Rolf Harris". The New Zealand Herald. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  22. ^ "Rolf Harris groped me: Maggie Barry". Stuff/Fairfax. 4 July 2014. 
  23. ^ "Maggie Barry: I was groped by Rolf Harris". New Zealand Herald, dated 2014-07-04, viewed 2014-07-21
  24. ^ "Rodney Hide: Forget Rolf, Maggie. We have our own sexual predator to name and shame". New Zealand Herald, dated 2014-07-13, viewed 2014-07-21
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Wayne Mapp
Member of Parliament for North Shore
2011 – present