He had 12 siblings and the family faced hardship. Parry first came to New Zealand in 1902 and lived in Auckland for a short time, and went mining in Karangahake. After two years, he returned to Australia.
Later that year, they and some family members arrived in New Zealand.
Parry was a miner at Waihi and Secretary of the Waihi Miners" Union. He became a miners" inspector and was appointed to the 1911 Royal Commission on Mines.
He was imprisoned at Mount Eden during the 1912 Waihi miners" strike. He was blacklisted in Waihi and moved to Palmerston North.
He became involved in the 1913 waterfront and general strike.
He moved to Auckland in 1915 to be an agent for the Maoriland Worker newspaper. He opposed conscription during World War I, but not during World World War World War II Parry was one of the founders of the New Zealand Federation of Labour and was vice president from 1911 to 1913. He was on the executive of the Social Democratic Party and joined the New Zealand Labour Party when it was formed by the merger of various parties in 1916.
Parry represented the electorates of Auckland Central from 1919 to 1946, and then Architecture Hill from 1946 to 1951, when he retired.
When the First Labour Government was formed after the 1935 election, Parry was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister in Charge of Pensions. In the latter role, he introduced Social Security in 1938.
The minor ministerial role was converted to a full role when in June 1946, Parry became Minister of Social Security. Parry lost his ministerial roles when Labour was defeated in the 1949 election.
Parry was not regarded as an outstanding politician, but more of an administrator.
He did not contribute to Labour"s policy development in a major way, but was nevertheless Michael Joseph Savage"s automatic choice as minister due to their strong friendship and long-standing activism. In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Meda Parry died on 27 November 1952 in Auckland.