1872 – 1940
Savage was born on in March, 1872 at Tatong in Victoria, the youngest of eight children to Irish parents Richard and Johanna.
As a young man Savage held various labouring jobs in NSW but emigrated to New Zealand in 1907 to became a trade union organizer.
He played a part in forming the New Zealand Labour Party in 1916 and three years later became the party’s national secretary.
He went on to succeeded Henry Holland as leader on the latter’s death in 1933.
Savage led Labour to its first general election victory in 1935 and soon began to tackle the economic depression with the introduction of a minimum wage, by restoring wage cuts and expanding social welfare.
Savage was rewarded by an even greater victory in the 1938 election and his work helped set the social agenda in New Zelanad right up until the 1970s.
He died in Wellington on March 27, 1940, while still in office.