Fraser Collection

The Fraser collection consists of around 1085 titles that belonged to former Prime Minister Peter Fraser. It is a large collection encompassing a variety of subjects, including both New Zealand and international politics and histories, works relating to education, socialism, and labour unions, which reflect Fraser’s varied political concerns, and twentieth-century literature and children’s literature which evoke Fraser’s family life. It is part of the Turnbull Named Collections.

Fraser (1884–1950) was New Zealand’s 24th Prime Minister and served from March 1940 to December 1949. As Deputy to Michael Savage (1872–1940) in New Zealand’s first Labour Government, Fraser worked gruelling hours and improved access to secondary schooling and instigated health reforms.

Covers of New Zealand by Horace Belshaw and The Material Culture of the Cook Islands by Te Rangi Hiroa.
L-R: L-R: Horace Belshaw (ed.), New Zealand, 1947. Record page; Te Rangi Hiroa, The material culture of the Cook Islands, 1927. Record page

When Savage died, New Zealand was at war. Fraser led the country alongside Britain. While he was at odds with Labour’s traditional opposition to conscription he helped to define the concept of dominion status in wartime. The ‘Fryberg Charter’ required that Britain to consult with New Zealand regarding any actions that involved New Zealand troops. Fraser also established direct diplomatic relations with the United States of America, and saw through the Canberra Pact that sought to protect Australasian interests in the Pacific.

Despite his poor eyesight Fraser was a voracious reader. He developed the arts in New Zealand and was a passionate advocate for education. His wife, Janet Munro, was an able political activist and acted as advisor and researcher for her husband.

Works by Peter Fraser in the Library collections

Read more about Fraser in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Head and shoulders portrait of Peter Fraser, circa 1940s.
Peter Fraser, ca 1940s. Ref: 1/4-020106-F.

Access items in this collection

Original items in this collection can be requested through the Library’s catalogue and consulted in the Katherine Mansfield Reading Room.

This collection is catalogued online and may be called up as a list on the National Library catalogue by searching ‘Fraser’ using the ‘in call number’ search option in the NLNZ catalogue advanced search.