Born in Oamaru in 1911, Thomas Shand was educated at Christ's College in Christchurch. He also studied at University of Canterbury and Canterbury agricultural College obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce and Diploma of farm management. Despite his strongly conservative background Shand was for many years a strong supporter and member of the Labour Party. After completion of his studies he began farming in the Blue Duck Valley in Marlborough and married Claudia Weston, daughter of a National Party president. During the War he served with the RNZAF as a flying instructor and bomber pilot and in 1943 while on leave, unsuccessfully contested the Marlborough seat for National. Three years later he attempted again, this time defeating his rival E.P. Meachen. From this time until his death in 1969 he retained the seat without defeat and became an influential member of Cabinet holding the portfolios for Labour, Immigration, Civil Aviation, Mines and Electricity as well as being Postmaster - General. Tom Shand, as he came to be known, was strong minded and skilled debater. His conservative views, frankness and commitment to his electorate often made him at odds with his colleagues. During one heated debate he tore up the new budget. He died suddenly on 11 December 1969.