(Cedric) Russell Marshall

Russell Marshall

Russell Marshall.jpg
23rd High Commissioner from New Zealand to the United Kingdom
In office
4 January 2002 – 4 January 2005
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byPaul East
Succeeded byJonathan Hunt
21st Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
24 August 1987 – 9 February 1990
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
Preceded byDavid Lange
Succeeded byMike Moore
1st Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control
In office
8 June 1987 – 24 August 1989
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Preceded byOffice Established
Succeeded byFran Wilde
1st Minister of Conservation
In office
1 April 1987 – 24 August 1987
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Preceded byOffice Established
Succeeded byHelen Clark
34th Minister of Education
In office
26 July 1984 – 24 August 1987
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Preceded byMerv Wellington
Succeeded byDavid Lange
6th Minister for the Environment
In office
26 July 1984 – 17 February 1986
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Preceded byDavid Thomson
Succeeded byPhil Goff
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Wanganui
In office
25 November 1972 – 27 October 1990
Preceded byBill Tolhurst
Succeeded byCam Campion
Personal details
Born (1936-02-15) 15 February 1936 (age 85)
Nelson, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Barbara May Watson
(m. 1961)
RelationsKerry Marshall (brother)

Cedric Russell Marshall CNZM (born 15 February 1936), known as Russell Marshall, is a former New Zealand politician of the Labour Party and diplomat.


Early life and career[]

Marshall was born in Nelson in 1936.[1] His father Cedric Marshall served as secretary of the Nelson Labour Party, then as its president, and was president of the Nelson Trades Council. Russell is the older brother of Kerry Marshall, a former mayor of both Nelson and Tasman District.[2] He attended Nelson College from 1949 to 1952.[3] He trained as a primary school teacher at Christchurch Teachers' College (1953–54), taught in the Nelson Education Board district in 1955–56, and at Wanganui High School in 1972. He was a Methodist minister from 1960 to 1972, serving in Spreydon and Halswell, Christchurch (1960–67) and in Masterton (1967–71).[4]

During his time as a Methodist minister Marshall became known as the "Red Reverend" after becoming known for leading protests against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. National Prime Minister Robert Muldoon resurrected the title when Marshall entered politics, frequently referring to him as such in debating exchanges.[5]

Member of Parliament[]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1972–1975 37th Wanganui Labour
1975–1978 38th Wanganui Labour
1978–1981 39th Wanganui Labour
1981–1984 40th Wanganui Labour
1984–1987 41st Wanganui Labour
1987–1990 42nd Wanganui Labour

He represented the Wanganui electorate from 1972 to 1990, when he retired.[6] In his first term in parliament he was on the education select committee where he supported the educational reforms of Phil Amos, the Minister of Education.[7] After the surprise defeat of the Labour government in 1975 Marshall was appointed by leader Bill Rowling as Shadow Minister of Education, a significant promotion for an MP of only three years.[8] He was also Senior Opposition Whip from 1978 to 1980.[9] When Rowling retired in 1983 Marshall stood to replace him as party leader, but was beaten by David Lange.[10]

Marshall was a Cabinet Minister from 1984 to 1990 during the Fourth Labour Government. He was Minister of Education, Minister for the Environment, Minister of Conservation and Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control during the governments first term (1984–87).[9]

As Minister for the Environment Marshall inherited a campaign promise from Labour's previous environment spokesperson Michael Cullen for the wholesale reorganisation of environmental administration. He merged parts of the Department of Lands and Survey, the Forest Service and Wildlife Service into the new Department of Conservation and additionally established the Ministry for the Environment.[11] As Minister of Education he was involved in reforming the public education system leading to the Tomorrow's Schools report.[12] He also tackled the problem of class sizes setting a goal of recruiting 2,500 new teachers to reduce classes to a maximum of 20 students.[7]

Despite initially intending to retire at the 1987 general election Marshall was persuaded to stand again after a personal plea from Lange. He was returned to cabinet but had a shift of responsibilities, retaining only the Disarmament and Arms Control portfolio and was additionally Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Pacific Island Affairs.[13] He held the foreign affairs portfolio during the Fijian coup d'état in September 1987 and led New Zealand's diplomatic response. He, in conjunction with the Australian government, imposed sanctions on Fiji in response to the coup and racist treatment of the Indo-Fijian populace.[14]

After parliament[]

He chaired the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO from 1990 to 1999, represented New Zealand as representative on the UNESCO Executive Board (1995–1999) and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO (1998–2000).[15] He chaired the Finance and Administration Commission of the Executive Board in 1998–1999. He was a member of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to the Lesotho elections in 1993, and chaired the Commonwealth Observer Mission to the Seychelles elections later the same year. He chaired the Commonwealth Observer Mission to South Africa (COMSA) in 1994.[5] From 1994 to 2002 he was chairman of the international education consultancy PINZ (Polytehnics International New Zealand) and Education New Zealand from 1998 to 2002. He was High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Nigeria and Ambassador to Ireland (2002–2005).[15]

He finally completed his BA degree at the Victoria University of Wellington and graduated in 1993.[15] In 1994 he was elected to the Council of Victoria University, becoming Pro Chancellor (1999) and Chancellor (2000–2002). In 2000–2001 he chaired the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission and was later Chairman of the Tertiary Education Commission (2005–2007).[5] In July 2007 he was elected president of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, a position from which he retired in 2011. He currently chairs the Advisory Board of Gbool (recruiting students from Arabic speaking countries) and is a member of the Mana Education Centre Trust in Porirua.[citation needed]

Local-body candidate[]

Marshall stood as a candidate in the Porirua City Council elections in 1992 but was unsuccessful.[12] In 2010 he stood again but this time for Mayor of Porirua but was placed 5th out of nine candidates with only 1,263 votes. The successful candidate was Nick Leggett.[16]


Marshall was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, and the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal in 1990.[17] In the 2001 New Year Honours, Marshall was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for public services.[18]

In 1989 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Khon Kaen University in Thailand for services to community development.[5]

Personal life[]

Marshall married Barbara May Watson at St John's Methodist Church in Nelson in 1961.[19] They had three children together.[5] His brother, Kerry Marshall, married Barbara's sister, Colleen Watson.[2]


  1. ^ Traue 1978, p. 190.
  2. ^ a b "New wind in his sails". Nelson Mail. Nelson. 20 October 2007. Archived from the original on 23 February 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  3. ^ Nelson College Old Boys' Register, 1856–2006, 6th ion
  4. ^ Sherry, Marie. "Fresh slate of challenges for ex-high commissioner". The Methodist Church of New Zealand. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Our man in London marshals resources as East goes west". The Evening Post. 10 April 2001. p. 13.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 218.
  7. ^ a b "Size of Classes First Priority For Education". The New Zealand Herald. 30 July 1984. p. 5.
  8. ^ "Surprises Among Party Spokesmen". The New Zealand Herald. 30 January 1976. p. 10.
  9. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 97.
  10. ^ Bassett 2008, p. 77.
  11. ^ Russell 1996, p. 120.
  12. ^ a b Dando, Kris (6 July 2010). "Porirua mayoral candidate: Russell Marshall". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  13. ^ Bassett 2008, pp. 280–283.
  14. ^ Bassett 2008, p. 293.
  15. ^ a b c Bassett 2008, p. 541.
  16. ^ "Local Body Election 2010". The Dominion Post. 11 October 2010. p. A4.
  17. ^ Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 243. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.
  18. ^ "New Year honours list 2019". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Wedding bells". Nelson Photo News (3). 4 February 1961. Retrieved 25 January 2016.


Political offices
Preceded by
David Lange
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Mike Moore
New title Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control
Succeeded by
Fran Wilde
Minister of Conservation
Succeeded by
Helen Clark
Preceded by
David Thomson
Minister for the Environment
Succeeded by
Phil Goff
Preceded by
Merv Wellington
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
David Lange
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Bill Tolhurst
Member of Parliament for Wanganui
Succeeded by
Cam Campion
Party political offices
Preceded by
Roger Drayton
Senior Whip of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Jonathan Hunt
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Paul East
High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Jonathan Hunt