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New Zealand and Zimbabwe lose remarkable citizen

New Zealand and Zimbabwe lose remarkable citizen

New Zealand has lost a remarkable and courageous citizen with the death of Invercargill-born Sir Garfield Todd, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said today.

Sir Garfield passed away yesterday at the age of 94 in his adopted country of Zimbabwe.

“Sir Garfield was an extraordinary person who spent his life championing black rights and was willing to be imprisoned for defending those principles.

“After leaving New Zealand in 1934 to go on missionary work he progressed to a distinguished political career. He was Prime Minister in 1953-58 of what was then the British colony of Southern Rhodesia.

“His beliefs that blacks should have social and political equality led to him losing that office. He spent two periods under house arrest under the Rhodesian government of Ian Smith for his opposition to that regimes efforts to keep minority whites in power.

“He carried his on fight against injustice until the last year of his life, standing up to threats from the Mugabe regime. Earlier this year he refused to be cowed by the edict that he had to renounce his dual citizenship if he was to vote in the Presidential elections.

“A Zimbabwe court eventually overruled those attempts to prevent Sir Garfield from voting.

“I reminded Sir Garfield he was welcome to return to New Zealand at any time but his decision to stay and take on Mugabe is a testament to his courage and integrity.

“New Zealand and Zimbabwe have lost one of their great sons,” Mr Goff said.

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