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Manuera Benjamin Riwai Couch or, as he was generally known, Ben Couch (27 June 1925 - 3 June 1996), was a New Zealandmarker politician and rugby union player and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was a member of the All Blacks and the New Zealand Māori rugby union team in the 1940s.

Couch's parents were Methodists but he was largely raised by his grandmother who belong to the Salvation Army. He married Bessie, his childhood sweetheart who was a member of the LDS Church. Couch was in the Royal New Zealand Airforce at the end of World War II but was never sent into battle. At the age of 24 Couch joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In 1975 he was elected to parliament as the National Party MP for Wairarapa, thus becoming (with Rex Austin) only the second and third Māori (after Sir James Carroll) to win a general (ie non Māori) seat.

He served as Minister of Māori Affairs and Minister of Police in the third National government, but lost his seat in 1984 to Reg Boorman. While Minister of Police, he called for the birch to be introduced for violent offenders and allowed the police to use longer batons. He created some controversy by wearing a Springbok rugby team blazer at the time of their 1981 tour of New Zealand as well as attending a public meeting organised by the League of Rights. This despite his having been denied entry to South Africa as part of the All Blacks rugby team in the 1940's because of his race.

In the 1990s he was involved in various Māori organisations

He died in 1996.


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