History biographies explorers and missionaries



History biographies explorers and missionaries


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History biographies explorers and missionaries


Abel Tasman - Explorer

    • Born 1603 in Lutjegast, Holland
    • Began working for the Dutch East India Company
    • Was charged with exploring ‘New Holland’, or Australia to establish a strong trade link, and to investigate the possibility of the ‘Great Southern Continent’
    • Discovered Tasmania and New Zealand, as well as Tonga
    • However, he never found a promising area for trade
    • Tasman returned to Holland with reports of savages and hostility, putting off explorers for many years
    • He died in 1659, largely a failure

Tasman's importance in New Zealand history rests on his voyage of 1642–43. The statement that he discovered New Zealand requires some qualification by virtue of the fact that in 1901 the Cook Group became part of New Zealand, and there is good reason to believe that Alvaro de Mendana in 1595, and Pedro Fernandez de Quiros in 1606, each discovered an island in the northern sector of that group. Claims have been made that Spanish or Portuguese ships had visited the main islands of New Zealand before Tasman. Thus a piece of Spanish armour, found in Wellington Harbour, has excited such a speculation, although a more realistic view might be that a later European settler who brought some antiques with him dropped it overboard by accident. Others have seen vague outlines of New Zealand in old maps, although if such suppositions were accepted wherever they have been made, little of the world remained to be discovered after 1600. These claims, however, do not conform with discovery in its conventional sense, which implies that some reasonably recognisable revelation was conveyed to the outside world. There is good reason, therefore, to confer firmly on Tasman the title of first discoverer of parts of the main islands of New Zealand.

James Cook - Explorer

  • Born into a lower-middle class household in Yorkshire, near Middlesbrough
  • Became a farmer at 13, and left home at 16 to become an apprentice shopkeeper
  • He then discovered the sea, and became a merchant navy apprentice
  • Studied navigation and mathematics vigorously, and joined the navy 1755
  • Moved through the ranks during the Seven Years War, and became a captain
  • Was hired by the Royal Society on a voyage of discovery and arrived in New Zealand on his ship the Endeavour in 1769
  • He visited the south Pacific twice afterwards, continuing his discovery and mapmaking
  • Was killed on his final voyage in Hawaii in 1779

James Cook is a figure of paramount importance in the history of New Zealand, not only because of his discovery of most of the coasts of its main islands and of most of the Southern Cooks and Niue, but also because his discovery of New South Wales opened up the way to the British settlement both of New South Wales and of the main islands of New Zealand. His character and training and the great occasions that presented themselves for the display of his practical genius as navigator and shrewd observer combined to make him the foremost figure in the exploration of the Pacific and, in particular, of the New Zealand area. His ethnological observations of the inhabitants of that area provide records of their material culture and customs at the time of European contact.


Marion Du Fresne - Explorer

  • Was born into a wealthy French family in 1724
  • Served with distinction in the Seven Years War
  • Financed his own expedition when his backers went bust
  • Set sail for New Zealand with two ships in 1771
  • Spent time mapping the West Coast of the North Island
  • Had an astonishingly close relationship with local Maori
  • Unfortunately, they entered a cave that was tapu to local Maori
  • Consequently, they were attacked by several under Maori and famously eaten in 1772

The stay, remarkable for its length and the closeness of the contact established between the visitors and the indigenous people, produced many records of early Maori life. Marion du Fresne’s own journals have not been found, but there are extensive notes in the logs and records of Crozet, du Cleseur, Jean Roux and others, and charts and drawings, including detailed plans of a pa. Marion du Fresne was a Maoriphile who shared Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s beliefs about the ‘noble savage’. The events of July 1772, however, strengthened the view in France that New Zealand was inhabited by dangerous natives and did not warrant an attempt at colonization.


Jean Francois Marion de Surville - Explorer

  • Born into a wealthy French family in 1717
  • Was sent by the French India Company and arrived in New Zealand in 1769, soon after Cook in his massive warship
  • Passed the Endeavour in the Bay of Islands without realising it
  • Established friendly relations with Maori
  • After a scuffle with local Maori in Hokianga, Du Surville left for Peru where he later drowned

For most of the time relations between Maori and French were amicable. Surville endeavoured to respect what he understood to be Maori etiquette, asking permission to cut trees and on one occasion giving his sword up to a chief. The local Maori people brought him supplies of greens, and he presented them with hogs, a cock and a hen, wheat, rice, peas and cloth. Surville and his officers recorded their impressions of Maori life and artifacts in their journals and in careful sketches, providing a valuable insight into a pre-colonial northern community, with perceptive comments on material conditions and cultural practices. It is likely that the ship's chaplain, Father Paul-Antoine Léonard de Villefeix, celebrated Mass on Christmas Day, making this the first Christian service to be held in New Zealand.


Hongi Hika – Chief and Warrior

  • Was born near Kaipara as the son of a Rangatira and the descendent of a famous ancestor
  • First established his warrior skills in 1806 against Ngati Whenua and Ngati Pour hapu, and won decisively
  • Became Ariki in 1810 after the death of all his rivals
  • He learned of the Europeans and was very impressed by their muskets
  • Hongi travelled to Sydney in 1814 and met Marsden, who was very impressed by him
  • He used this connection to create a regional dominance and unity
  • In 1820 Hongi met King George IV in London
  • While in England, he received many gifts which he exchanged for guns in Sydney
  • From then on Hongi used the muskets to lead Ngapuhi in the musket wars as utu in Auckland, Thames, Tauranga, Rotorua and the rest of the Waikato
  • Hongi was unique in that he inherited a sense of ruthlessness from European culture.
  • His role model was Napoleon
  • Hongi was against the loss of traditional Maori culture
  • Hongi died in Hokianga in 1828

Hongi Hika was not a great military tactician, but depended for his success principally upon the superiority of muskets over traditional Maori weapons. The Ngapuhi were defeated on many occasions when smaller forces could be deployed strategically against them. Among his foes, Murupaenga and Te Wherowhero were both better generals. Hongi's campaigns were fought according to the traditional rules of Maori warfare and were, in this respect, no more barbarously conducted than those of Te Rauparaha in his own time, or of Titokowaru or Te Kooti a generation later. His use of muskets in close proximity to his enemy, however, was the reason for his enemy's casualties being so much higher. In this connection it is perhaps worth noting that the European settlements in the Auckland isthmus later, in large measure, insulated the Ngapuhi from the vengeance of their southern enemies when they, too, obtained firearms.


Te Rauparaha – Chief and Warrior

  • Born to a Tainui Rangatira in 1768
  • His father was eaten by enemy tribes while Te Rauparaha was a young boy
  • Fought frequently against the neighbouring Waikato tribes
  • Combined with the Ngapuhi in the Musket Wars of 1819-1820 as utu for the killing of his wife
  • By 1828 Te Rauparaha was the master of the entire Wairarapa and Kapiti Coast
  • Was very friendly to missionaries
  • In 1832 Te Rauparaha travelled to the South Island in the Elizabeth Affair, and controlled much of the Northern part of the Island
  • Was involved in the Wairau Affair in 1843, and was captured by Grey
  • Died in 1849 after securing the Wairau Bloc

Although not born to the highest chiefly rank, Te Rauparaha early won a reputation for cunning and audacious war leadership. He ranks with Te Wherowhero and Tuhawaiki in this because these were the two chiefs who came nearest to defeating him in battle. He was renowned for the cleverness of his stratagems and for his unfailing habit of turning his enemies' tricks against themselves. In an age of fierce tribal wars Te Rauparaha was unmatched for his ferocity, and vanquished foes almost invariably ended their careers in the Ngati Toa cooking pots. Among his enemies Te Rauparaha enjoyed an unenviable reputation for treachery; however, it must be remembered that, as the Ngati Toa were at that time fighting for survival, the traditional rules of warfare were necessarily disregarded. Maori tradition credits Te Rauparaha's elder sister, Waitohi, with being the mastermind behind many of his strategic moves. It was she, for instance, who set out the main tribal boundaries between Manawatu and Porirua. Whatever truth there may be in this – Te Rauparaha usually consulted her when planning his more spectacular coups – his cleverest tricks, improvised in the heat of battle, were peculiarly his own. Te Rauparaha's fame rests principally upon the extent of his conquests and, as a result, he has often been dubbed the “Maori Napoleon”. It must also be remembered, however, that he was equally successful in the intertribal diplomacy of his day, and that in this respect his methods were worthy of a “Bismarck”.


Samuel Marsden - Missionary

  • Born 1765 in Yorkshire, the son of a blacksmith
  • Was a Methodist as a child, became a farming apprentice
  • Was given an Anglican scholarship by the Elland Clerical Society and went to school at Hull, where he became attached to the Evangelical side of Anglicanism
  • Appointed chaplain in New South Wales in 1793, after being ordained a minister
  • Married Elizabeth Fristan, who bore a child on the way to Sydney
  • Was given a grant by the New South Wales Government, and became the master to convict labourers
  • Became chief chaplain of New South Wales in 1800
  • In 1804 Marsden was made a judge, and became notorious for giving out punishments of up to 1,000 lashes
  • Was dismissed due to a legal technicality in 1822
  • Became interested in the London Missionary Society’s activities in the Pacific
  • Met visiting Maori chiefs in 1808, and decided to establish a mission in New Zealand under the protection of the Bay of Islands chief Ruatara
  • Recruited Thomas Kendall to assist him
  • In 1814 Kendall visited the Bay of Islands, who befriended Hongi Hika
  • Gained support from New South Wales Governor Macquarie
  • In 1815 he established the first mission in New Zealand at Rangihoua, as well as a seminary in Parramatta where Maori Christians were converted
  • Visited New Zealand again in 1819, twice in 1820, 1823, 1827, 1830 and 1837, visiting the Bay of Islands, Kaipara, Waikato and Tauranga
  • On his penultimate visit Marsden acted as a negotiator in the Musket Wars
  • Died in 1838 at Parramatta

No stronger or more dynamic personality than Marsden's was ever in New Zealand. His untiring efforts to bring the New Zealand Maoris within the Christian fold, pursued to the limit of his great physical vigour and with unflinching personal bravery, had great direct and indirect effects on the history of New Zealand. Among the direct ones were the success of the mission itself, the interest in New Zealand as a sphere of British influence and settlement which this occasioned, the inland explorations which Marsden carried out, and his introduction of key personages in Henry Williams and other outstanding early missionaries. The indirect ones were the effect – not entirely happy – of these accelerations of European impact on the Maoris themselves, and the invaluable factual contributions to Maori ethnology with which Marsden's writings endowed New Zealand's early literature. Marsden himself was not sympathetic to much of the Maori culture, thinking, under the influence of his stern evangelical creed, that many elements in it were of the Devil. Nor was Marsden always tolerant of or merciful toward what he conceived to be human error, whether of thought or deed. On balance, however, Samuel Marsden must be set down as the outstanding European figure in the history of New Zealand in the decade from 1814 to 1823.


Thomas Kendall - Missionary

  • Born 1778 in Lincolnshire into a devout family
  • Had a church education
  • Became a schoolmaster and was married in 1805
  • After attending an evangelical service he decided to become a minister and joined the Church and Missionary Society
  • Arrived in New South Wales in 1813
  • Marsden sent him to New Zealand in 1814 and was made New Zealand’s first Justice of the Peace
  • Had few friends in New Zealand
  • Set up New Zealand’s first school in 1816 and learned Maori
  • Fell out with his deputy, John Butler
  • Accompanied Hongi Hika on his 1820 voyage to England
  • Had an uneasy relationship with his wife which caused disrespect from the CMS
  • Made significant progress in his missionary exploits
  • Was sacked for misconduct in 1824
  • Returned to Australia in 1825, where he became a teacher and timber merchant
  • Died in 1832

Thomas Kendall's tragedy was that he was projected in New Zealand into circumstances which brought out latent weaknesses of character and so proved his undoing. Kendall, William Hall, and John King were the first resident missionaries in New Zealand. Kendall was the first British Magistrate resident in New Zealand, and the first master of an organised school.


Jean Baptist Francis Pompallier – Catholic Missionary

  • Was born in Lyons 1801 into a wealthy family
  • Received an exemplary education, and served as an officer in the French Army as well as a silk trader
  • He entered a seminary in Lyons in 1825, and was ordained in 1829
  • Was chosen by the Vatican as the first Bishop of Western Oceania and arrived New Zealand in 1838
  • Had support from the Irish community
  • Founded many mission stations around New Zealand, especially in Northland and the Bay of Plenty between 1838 and 1844
  • Introduced the unofficial ‘fourth clause’ of the Treaty of Waitangi, allowing for religious tolerance
  • Was a poor administrator, and had to borrow to ensure the viability of his mission
  • Frequently returned to Britain and Europe on visits
  • Had problems training his clergy, and formed St Mary’s College in Ponsonby in 1853
  • Created New Zealand’s first nunnery in 1859
  • Was in the end forced to mortgage most of his land du to a lack of finance, and resigned in 1869
  • Was a man of talent and vision but poor practical work
  • Was also a talented painter
  • Returned to Paris in 1867
  • Died near Paris in 1871

Pompallier had the gift of treating native peoples with respect, cordiality, and esteem. His chief fault was that he tried to do too much with so little, and too quickly. His forte was extension, not consolidation, but he was the leader the times needed. Lack of resources and consequent debts had harassed him from the beginning but he deserves little blame for that and much praise for all that he contrived to do. Founder of all the Catholic missions in the south-west Pacific, he was one of the great Christian missionaries of the nineteenth century.


Henry Williams - Missionary

  • Entered the navy in 1806 and fought during the Napoleonic Wars, before retiring in 1815
  • Married a devout evangelist, which changed his life
  • He became a missionary but also studied extensively in secular studies
  • Ordained in 1822 and left for Sydney, Bay of Islands in 1823
  • Was a natural leader
  • Recognised the importance of translating the bible and did, publishing the first Maori dictionary in 1844
  • His brother joined him in 1826
  • Henry worked towards breaking missionary dependence on Ngapuhi
  • Negotiated peace
  • Began serious conversions in the 1830s
  • Influence was destroyed by Governor Grey in the 1840s, but was reinstated in 1854
  • Was ‘courageous, masterful and energetic’
  • ‘Few men played a more important part in forcing the Maori to surrender to the Queen’

The most successful period of Henry William's career was that during which he exercised more or less absolute control over the Church of England mission from 1823 to 1840 when its influence was extended far and wide throughout the North Island. Courageous, masterful, and energetic, he was born to command rather than cooperate. Combative by temperament, he was vehement in dispute and seldom willing to accept a compromise. As a low churchman or evangelical, he looked askance at the Oxford movement and feared that Bishop Selwyn, whom he believed to be a “Puseyite”, might exert an unfortunate influence in his diocese. In matters of doctrine Williams was inclined to bigotry. His attitude towards strange manners and customs was both insular and puritanical. “I feel it necessary,” he wrote, “to prohibit all old (Maori) customs; their dances, singing and tatu-ing, their general domestic disorders.” Politics were certainly not his element, but he had the misfortune to become involved in them through causes beyond his control. Like the prophets of the Old Testament, with whom he had much in common, he was not subservient to secular rulers, nor did he invariably treat ecclesiastical superiors with due deference.


James Busby – British Resident

    • Born in 1801 in Edinburgh to an engineer
    • Family moved to New South Wales in 1824
    • His father is credited with setting up much of Sydney’s water supply
    • Studied viticulture in France and published a book on wine growing in 1825
    • Was a teacher in wine growing, and then a tax collector
    • He returned to England in 1829 to find a better job and was appointed as British Resident to New Zealand in 1833
    • Married Agnes Dow in the same year
    • Was never given any monetary or practical support during his time in New Zealand; was even charged for his passage to New Zealand
    • Tried to create a moral influence in New Zealand but failed
    • Tried to stop the Musket Wars of the time; again he failed
    • Settlers questioned his authority
    • However, he did arrange the New Zealand Flag and Declaration of independence
    • The Colonial Office had no faith in him, and after he requested two paid constables underneath him, they appointed a rival Resident, T. McDonnell
    • Founded the New Zealand Temperance Society
    • Felt victimised by the government
    • His ideas were vindicated in Hobson’s 1837 report
    • However, Hobson was appointed Governor after the Treaty instead of Busby, who was disappointed
    • Turned to farming in 1838 in the Bay of Islands and Bay of Plenty
    • His land claims were disputed form 30 years
    • Was a member of the Auckland Provincial Council from 1853-1855
    • Denounced Governor Grey and Gore-Browne
    • Sued Grey for 23,000 £ after a dispute over his land
    • Died in 1871 on his way to England for an eye operation

Busby was largely a failure, but this was not due to his own fault. Rather, it was due to the lack of support he received from his supposed government in London. He was constantly antagonised by the Governors of New South Wales, who had no faith in him. He is remembered as a man who genuinely tried his best, but the odds were too highly stacked against him.


William Hobson - Governor

        •  Born in Ireland 1793, the son of a barrister
        • Was born into a strict Catholic home
        • Was sent to become part of the Navy at the age of nine, and was sent to the West Indies
        • By the age of 17 he was a lieutenant and served in the United States, the British Channel, the Mediterranean and the West Indies with an impressive reputation
        • Moved back to England and was married in 1827
        • In 1834 he was sent by the Lord Auckland to the South Pacific
        • Was sent to New Zealand in 1837 to commission a report on the problems facing the colony
        • Was appointed Governor of New Zealand in 1839
        • Arrived in New Zealand in 1840 and organised the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi
        • Collapsed soon after the signing of the Treaty and was briefly replaced by Bunbury, who proclaimed sovereignty over New Zealand
        • Had administrative problems; many of his officials, such as William Shortland, were substandard
        • Faced rivalry from the New Zealand Company
        • Had a close relationship with Henry Williams
        • Was officially sworn in as governor in 1841
        • Still had no military force to support his authority, meaning his relationship with Maori rested on goodwill
        • Constantly struggled with poor health
        • Had financial difficulties as well – his advisors squandered the colonial budget
        • The Colonial Office, with lobbying from the New Zealand Company, decided he should be removed in 1843 – however, he was already dead in 1842

As a Governor, Hobson never emerged from the shadows. His greatest moment was at the Treaty signing when the immediate future seemed full of promise for both races – and also for himself. Yet Hobson had many excellent qualities. Until illness gained the ascendancy, he was a man of sociable habits and a good host, with a faculty for making friends. He was deeply religious, had a high sense of duty and of justice, was honest in his dealings, and anxious to advance the interests of the Maori people. But the tragedy of his administration lies in the fact that New Zealand never saw the intrepid officer of the Napoleonic era. It seems strange that, after the first paralytic stroke which completed the work of destruction begun by yellow fever, Hobson should cling tenaciously to office, though it would appear he was encouraged in this course by some of his advisers who welcomed the opportunity to advance their own schemes. Hobson, in short, was not in command of the situation. For all that, he was jealous of his authority and resentful of opposition. He had spent the best years of his life at sea under a stern code of discipline; as a civil Governor he looked for an unquestioning obedience, even from members of his Legislative Council. And his nervous irritability was aggravated by the unfair attacks made on him by the New Zealand Company and by intemperate articles in the colonial press, all of which he ought properly to have ignored; instead, such criticism “kept him in perpetual fever”. Nevertheless, even if he had enjoyed good health it is doubtful whether his administration would have been successful. The policy evolved by the Colonial Office was impracticable and over-idealistic, and presupposed a state of affairs in New Zealand quite contrary to fact. It was Hobson's misfortune that the weakness of his administration obscured that of the Colonial Office. It was therefore left to his successor, the equally unfortunate Captain Robert Fitzroy, to demonstrate the folly of an unrealistic approach to the New Zealand problem.


Baron Charles Philip Hippolytus de Thierry - Colonist

        • Was the eldest son of Baron Charles de Thierry de Laville, who was banished from France after the Revolution
        • Was born in Holland in 1793
        • Was intrigued by Cook’s reports of New Zealand as a boy
        • Became secretary to the Portuguese Marquis of Marialva, and served in the British Cavalry Regiment
        • Worked for the French Embassy in London in 1816
        • Studied theology and law at Oxford and was married to the noblewoman Emily Rudge in 1820
        • Satisfied his boyhood dreams in 1820 when he visited Hika and Kendall in Cambridge
        • Arranged for Kendall to buy him 800 £ worth of land; this gave him 40,000 acres from Hokianga to Muriwai
        • He asked the Dutch to buy their ‘rights of discovery’ for 50,000 £
        • However, he was imprisoned for bankruptcy 1825
        • Tried to secure French support for his plans, but again was rejected
        • Found support with Spanish colonists in Panama and proclaimed himself Governor of Tahiti
        • Arrived in New Zealand in 1837 after telling Busby his intentions of taking over the country
        • Was always unpopular and feared because of his French heritage
        • Settled in Tarawera, and made his living as a music teacher
        • In 1850 he joined the Californian gold rush
        • Later became the French Ambassador to Honolulu, and returned to New Zealand in 1853
        • Commanded the respect of Governor Grey
        • Was commissioned by Grey to write an autobiography, chronicling the early settlement of New Zealand
        • Died in Auckland 1864

Notwithstanding its many Ruritanian absurdities, de Thierry's colonising philosophy was not entirely without merit, and the ridicule and distrust which he aroused during his lifetime to some extent resulted from misinterpretation of his self-bestowed titles. Although he styled himself “Sovereign Chief of New Zealand”, the only sovereignty he claimed was that of his supposed 40,000 acres at Hokianga. Ironically, his more unscrupulous stratagems do not appear to have been generally known.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield - Colonist

  •  Born to a real estate agent in London in 1796
  • Was a Quaker Evangelist
  • Edward was sent to school in Westminster in 1808, but dropped out n 1810
  • Then went to Edinburgh High School, but again dropped out in 1812
  • Became a minor diplomat in Paris
  • Was ambitious to enter parliament
  • Married a wealthy heiress in 1816, who died in 1820
  • Abducted Ellen Turner from her family and married her in 1826 and moved to Calais
  • Her family pursued them, and the couple were sentenced to three years imprisonment in 1827
  • This ended his hopes of entering parliament
  • Wakefield wrote two books while in jail, attacking British colonial land ownership policy
  • His writings suggested that land in colonies should be sold to settlers, not given to them – his books became well known
  • On his release, Wakefield founded the Colonisation Society to spread his ideas
  • This lobby group became successful, and British colonial policy in Wakefield’s favour
  • After attempting to gain permission to start a settlement in South Australia, Wakefield formed the New Zealand Association in 1837 to promote colonisation of the country
  • Wielded significant political influence in the Colonial Office
  • His theory was based around establishing a strictly free market economy in the colonies; this caused resentment from economists such as Karl Marx
  • Had a maniacal love of power
  • Was invited by the High Commissioner in Canada to join him as an unofficial advisor where he broke down barriers with the French
  • In 1840 Wakefield became head of the newly formed New Zealand Company
  • Sent the ship the Tory to settle in New Zealand in 1840
  • Wakefield also founded the North American Colonial Association, which bough much of Canada
  • His brother, Arthur Wakefield, was killed in the Wairau Affray of 1843
  • Produced a report on New Zealand to the New Zealand Select Committee in 1844 promoting further settlement by the New Zealand Company, which was rejected
  • In 1846 he presented plans to Lord Gladstone and Earl Grey to give the New Zealand Company self-determination in New Zealand, but was rejected
  • Later that year Wakefield had a stroke, and resigned from the New Zealand Company
  • Founded a new lobby group, the Society for the reform of Colonial Government, which failed to make an impact in its lobbying for colonial self-determination in the early 1850s
  • In 1853, after the passing of the Constitution Act encouraging colonial settlement, Wakefield moved to Lyttelton in New Zealand and offered Governor Grey his services; he was declined
  • Represented Hutt in the Central Government and Wellington Provincial council, and made an about turn when he recommended that settlers be granted free land
  • Briefly joined the Executive Council, but left in 1855 after a rheumatic fever which he never recovered from
  • Was re-elected to Provincial Government in 1857, but retired soon after and died in his Wellington home in 1862

Wakefield was a stout man about 5 ft 6 in. in height, with a massive head, a fair complexion, longish hair, and brilliant blue eyes. Many witnesses testify to his personal fascination. He undoubtedly possessed a touch of genius as a thinker and propagandist. His theories of colonisation fitted neatly into the structure of contemporary economic thought. J. S. Mill treated him with respect and Karl Marx took note of him. He is maligned when accused by Marx and others of wishing to reproduce the aristocratic society of England in the colonies. He wanted his labourers to become landowners in due course. He was politically a radical and sympathetic to the United States, the most democratic and progressive society of the day. His theory, though it made too little allowance for colonial circumstances and, in particular, for the place of pastoral farming in the Australian and New Zealand economy, was by no means entirely inapplicable. Canterbury, the settlement which adhered most closely to his principles, made the most rapid economic advance, though there were no doubt other contributing causes. Wakefield did not care for detail and was not strong in administration; but he had marked political ability, though he was more effective in committee work and personal contacts than he could ever have been in public office. His love of power was almost pathological; more than once he sacrificed principle for power's sake. He was jealous of those who held the positions he could not gain. But, despite his many faults, by the impetus he gave to the colonisation of New Zealand he left a deeper mark on its history than any other man.


William Colenso – Missionary and Botanist

  •  Born in Cornwall, 1811 and became an apprentice to a local printer in 1826
  • Became a printer to the Church at Missionary Society, and was sent to establish a printing press in the Bay of Islands in 1834
  • Printed the first ever Maori book in 1835
  • The first 5,000 Maori bibles were printed in 1835
  • Was one of the translators of the Treaty of Waitangi, and produced the best written eyewitness account of the signing
  • Married a missionaries daughter in 1843, and became a deacon later that year
  • Was trained as a botanist in 1838, after a visit from the famous botanist Allan Cunningham
  • Began collecting and analysing much of New Zealand’s botany
  • Accompanied Rev. Williams on many journeys round New Zealand
  • Published his first scientific work in the Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science in 1842
  •  Became the second European to visit Cape Reinga, and also visited the Ureweras, Manukau, Kaipara, East Coast and the Waikato between 1841-42
  • Collected almost 1,000 specimens, and published his findings in his book Excursion in the Northern Island of New Zealand
  • Started the Ahuriri mission in 1844
  • Was discharged in 1852 for ‘irregular association’ with a Maori girl
  • Was elected the Hawke Bay Provincial Council in 1858 and served until 1865
  • Acted as speaker, provincial auditor, and treasurer
  • Was recognised as the first New Zealand member of the Royal Society in 1866
  • Stood for the Central Government in 1866, but was defeated by Donald McLean
  • From 1872-78 he was new Zealand’s school inspector
  • Died in Napier in 1899

During a lifetime spanning almost the whole of the nineteenth century Colenso followed his varied occupations with unflagging zeal, but his restless energy which drove him from one interest to another deprived him of the fame he could have earned had he confined himself to one sphere. Unfortunately, great mental capacity, dynamic energy, an absolute religious faith, and an insatiable scientific curiosity were fettered to a passionate and uncompromising nature and an intolerance of contrary opinion that brought him in turn into conflict with his fellow workers, his bishop, and his own townsmen. His energy and craftsmanship as a printer were typical of his performance in all other pursuits. As a missionary he laboured tirelessly, caring much for the welfare of his widely scattered flock and indifferent to his own comfort and health

Willoughby Shortland - Governor

  • Born 1804 in Plymouth, the son of a Navy Captain
  • Entered the Navy in 1818, was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1828
  • Served with Hobson in Jamaica 1829-1833
  • Accompanied Hobson to Sydney and then New Zealand, where he was appointed Colonial Secretary in 1841 after Hobson’s death
  • Was unpopular with the New Zealand Company
  • Poor financial expertise
  • After his removal in 1843, all problems faced in the time were blamed on him by Fitzroy
  • Fitzroy dismissed him from all his government posts
  • Was later appointed President of Nevis, and then Governor of Tobago in 1854
  • Retired as a Commander in 1864, and passed away in Devonshire in 1869

In office, Shortland by his pomposity, flamboyancy of character, and lack of tact, quickly made himself obnoxious to the colonists, while his abruptness in dissolving the Port Nicholson Settlers' Council aroused resentment throughout the New Zealand Company's settlements. His abysmal ignorance of financial matters, and his recourse to the questionable expedient of issuing unauthorised drafts on the Imperial Treasury, added considerably to the colony's public debt. Governor Fitzroy chose to blame all the shortcomings he found in the New Zealand Administration upon Shortland, whom he accordingly dismissed from office on 31 December 1843.


Robert Fitzroy - Governor

  •  Born 1805, the son of a general
  • Was descended from King Charles II
  • Joined the Navy in 1819 and commanded the Beagle in 1828, the ship which Darwin travelled on
  • Visited the Bay of Islands briefly in 1835, and was impressed with the CMS operations there and lobbied in their favour on his return to London
  • Became the Conservative member of Parliament for Durham in 1841, and after his resignation he was appointed as Governor of New Zealand in 1843
  • Was largely supported by the CMS
  • Blamed the turmoil and financial hardship in New Zealand on Hobson and Shortland
  • Supported settlers after the Wairau Affair, but soon realised that the settlers demands were unfair and the Maori were victimised
  • Clashed with the New Zealand Company, which was intensified by Fitzroy’s support for Maori in land claims
  • Dramatically turned around government spending, which was thousands of £ in debt. He issued paper money and invested strongly in overseas debenture stocks
  • Was reluctant to give land claims in favour Pakeha
  • Waived the right of pre-emption, giving Maori the right to sell to anyone
  • At the same time, he increased tax to assist government revenue
  • However, customs duties began to cripple the New Zealand export economy
  • Settlers were reluctant to give taxes even though they were required
  • Began the Northern Wars against Hone Heke
  • Due to lobbying by the New Zealand Company, Fitzroy was replaced by Grey in 1845
  • Left Auckland in 1846 for England, where he was made Superintendent of the Woolwich Dockyard
  • Became chief of the Meteorological Service in 1854, and a member of the Royal Society in 1851
  • Was appointed Vice-Admiral in 1865
  • Committed suicide due to overwork later that year

No one could have succeeded in New Zealand if placed in Fitzroy’s circumstances. For a start, the instructions he received before leaving England indicate the negative approach of the Colonial Office to an urgent problem – he was not to expect any increase in naval or military forces, and he was not to involve the British Government in any increased expenditure. A vague benevolence and humanitarianism, the difficulties of finding money, troops, and ships, the problem of reconciling the powerful evangelical interest on the one hand and the New Zealand Company party on the other, all combined to prevent a firm line being taken by the British Government. Fitzroy himself took up an evangelical, missionary approach to his functions – to “do good” was his ambition – but this did not blind him to the need to administer in the light of what was reasonable and possible. He was no doctrinaire. His generous solicitude for the Maoris and his wholesome respect for their strength tended to obscure the needs of the unhappy settlers and the necessity to act with discretion among so many strong conflicting interests. The accusation that he became hysterical in the face of disaster may be true, but, if so, it was nothing to the hysteria shown by the mass of the settlers. He took grave risks and opened himself to the charge of being rash and impulsive, but most of these were inescapable and many were justified. That disaster did not overtake New Zealand long before owes much to his moral courage, fair-mindedness, and ability.


George Grey - Governor

  •  Born in Lisbon 1812 after his mother heard that his father had been killed at a battle in Spain, which brought on a premature birth
  • Emigrated to South Africa, and led a catastrophic tour of North-West Australia – the boat almost sunk and had to go the Mauritius for repairs, and eventually had t walk to Perth
  • Was appointed Governor of South Australia in 1840 at the age of 28, where he dramatically reduced government spending
  • Transformed the colony into a self-sufficient state, and provided social services for the Aborigines
  • After serving as the Governor of South Australia, Grey became governor of New Zealand in 1845 after Fitzroy’s dismissal
  • This period is regarded as his greatest success
  • He saw the end of the Northern Wars, and administered the capture of Ruapekapeka
  • Arrested te Rauparaha but established friendly relationships with most Maori
  • Was unpopular with missionaries and settlers due to his harsh dealing of their land claims
  • Requested by the Colonial Office to introduce Representative Government, which he never saw through
  • Was popular with Maori after he established peace and set up courts to give them justice
  • This era saw a burst of prosperity, especially in farming areas
  • Was appointed Governor of South Africa in 154, where he was charged with ‘civilisng’ the local Kaffir tribes
  • Pacified them through force
  • The end of his tenure was mired by controversy, and Grey returned to New Zealand in 1861 a bitter man
  • The Taranaki War had broken out, and Grey was charged with making peace
  • However, Grey could not restore Maori faith in the British Government after the Wynyard era
  • Led the first part of the Waikato campaign, and issued the proclamation against the Kingites
  • Never got on with his General Assembly, felt he was hindered by them
  • Was criticised by Cameron and his military
  • When he refused to return troops to Britain he was dismissed as Governor in 1868
  • Briefly retired to Kauwau and then England, where he tried and failed to enter the House of Commons
  • Became Superintendent of Auckland in 1874, and a member of the House of Representatives
  • Was briefly Prime Minister between 1877 and 1879, but had poor administration and leadership
  • Embodied many of the Liberal Party policies, but was before his tome
  • Promoted New Zealand colonial expansion into the South Pacific
  • Died London 1898, and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral

He had a shrewd insight into the Maori mind, and his published collection of Maori legends is a classic. He bequeathed his large collection of writings on the African language, together with his library of incunabula and manuscripts to Cape Town in 1861, and later donated a second valuable collection to the city of Auckland. An amateur natural scientist of repute, he sent thousands of specimens of the flora and fauna to the British Museum and to Kew Gardens. His island domain of Kauwau became a botanical and zoological experiment in the acclimatization of plants and animals. Always keenly interested in education, his name is connected with many schools and institutions whose foundation and advancement he assisted, including Bloemfontein College, Auckland Grammar School, and Wanganui Collegiate. He was a strange mixture — a philanthropist impelled by altruistic motives, a visionary and a prophet, and a man of resolute, often dramatic, action. He made a real impression on those colonies in which he lived and ruled, especially in New Zealand where he spent the greater part of his life. In the final analysis, he fell short of greatness because he was too autocratic and egotistic in manner, lacked true self-control, and could never recognise his own mistakes. He pronounced judgment upon himself when, in November 1845, he boasted to the Maori chiefs assembled at Kororakea, “I never alter what I once say”. Yet, for all his failings, he earned the affection and respect of the colonists over whose destinies he presided, and especially the love of the Maori people, whose farewell message at his death was, “Horei Kerei, Aue! Ka nui matou aroha ki a koe” (“George Grey, alas! Great was our love for thee”).

Robert Wynyard - Governor

  • Born 1802 at Windsor Castle, the sun of the Deputy Adjutant-General to George III
  • Joined the 85th Regiment in 1819, serving in Ireland from 1828-1841
  • Led the 58th Regiment to Sydney, and was sent to fight in the Northern Wars almost immediately, where he led the battle at Ruapekapeka
  • Lived in Auckland until 1846 as an Army Commander
  • Left for Sydney in 1846, but again returned to New Zealand in 1847
  • Was the Commander of all Military Forces in New Zealand from 1851-58, a time of peace
  • Returned to England in 1851, where he became Lieutenant-Governor of New Ulster until 1853
  • Returned to New Zealand, where he was Superintendent of Auckland until 1855 mainly due to the votes of veterans
  • Believed in a strong central Government
  • Was appointed to Governor General in 1854 after Grey left
  • Was limited by the fact he was only intended to be a temporary administrator
  • Lacked Grey’s popularity with Maori, but also unpopular with settlers
  • Established the General Assembly in 1854, but refused to advance to Responsible Government
  • As a compromise, it was agreed that the Executive Council would be made up of representatives from the General Assembly
  • Passed the Waste Lands Bill, giving the government the power to confiscate any land not actively used by Maori
  • Protected British settlers in Taranaki, eventually provoking the Wairau Affair
  • Was replaced in 1855
  • Returned to England in 1858, and was appointed commander of troops in South Africa
  • Was deputy to George Grey
  • Returned to England to require as a Lieutenant-General in 1863, where he died at Bath in 1864

Wynyard was a man of average ability, but with the added virtues of dignity, friendliness, sympathy, and common sense. In Auckland he was regarded as a social success. Like all good army officers he was meticulous in his work, popular with his subordinates, and respectful and obedient to his superiors. Grey thus found him an admirable assistant. Wynyard's importance in New Zealand history lies in his involvement in the political and constitutional issues of the 1850s.

Thomas Gore-Browne - Governor

  • Born 1807 near Buckingham, the son of a colonel, the grandson of an MP and the nephew of the Bishop of Winchester
  • Was commissioned as an ensign in the 28th Foot Regiment in 1828
  • Served as an aide-de-camp in the Ionian Islands from 1832-1835
  • Fought in the Afghan War of 1842 as a commander
  •  Appointed Governor of St. Helena in 1851
  • In 1854 he was transferred to New Zealand and arrived in 1855
  • Expected to find a peaceful and easy office after Grey’s descriptions
  • Was instructed to introduce Responsible Government to satisfy the demands of the New Zealand Company
  • During his tenure relations with Maori began to deteriorate due to Donald McLean’s land crusades
  • Responsible Government was finally introduced in 1856, but Gore-Brown retained the Maori Affairs portfolio, leading to friction between himself and Prime Minister Stafford
  • Put his full faith in McLean
  • Failed to act with regards to Maori Affairs policy, as the anti-land selling lobby grew and the King Movement was formed
  • Tried to settle disputes in the Taranaki, but was deceived by McLean into believing Wiremu Kingi wanted to sell his land which resulted in the Taranaki War
  • Arranged the truce in Taranaki in 1861
  • Was removed due to his failure to maintain peace, and was made the Governor of Tasmania and then Bermuda between 1862 and 1871

He was a brave, religious, honest, and simple man, more suited to the quick decision of battle or the quiet society of his wife's musical evenings than to acting amidst the complexities of racial relations on a colonial frontier. His intentions towards the Maoris were the best, but he could match them neither with understanding nor affection; he had no liking for the smells of the pa, and he was unable to mix socially with the Maoris. His policy towards the disaffected Maoris jumped from long hesitancy to ill-considered action, and having made up his mind, he was too inflexible to change it or to admit the possibility of error; he “hoped and expected to put an end to many Maori difficulties by a vigorous and decisive act”. When Kingi would not yield, Browne acted like an exasperated man. He was, in New Zealand, well out of his emotional and intellectual depth.


Donald McLean – Bureaucrat

  •  Born in the Hebrides in 1820, the grandson of a minister
  • Was desperate to emigrate, and did so in 1839 to Sydney
  • Moved to New Zealand in 1840 as a representative of a timber trading firm, and worked around the Hauraki Gulf
  • Realised that a knowledge of Maori language and culture was key to good business relations in New Zealand
  • In 1843 he was appointed Protector of Aborigines, and sent to New Plymouth in 1844
  • Was successful at reconciling Maori-Pakeha land disputes
  • After the abolition of his office in 1845, he became Inspector of Armed Police
  • He became a Maori-Pakeha mediator, and traveled extensively
  • Purchased Wanganui on behalf of the New Zealand Company
  • His greatest success came in 1851, when he succeeded in purchasing 630,000a of the Wairarapa
  • Was appointed Chief Land Purchase Commissioner in 1853, and had massive influence over Governor Gore-Browne
  • McLean believed that it was in the best interests of Maori to sell land
  • Caused the Waitara conflict after he led Gore-Browne into believing that settlers were right to claim the area
  • Organised the 1860 Kohimaramara Conference
  • Resigned in 1861, and became a pastoral farmer; was estimated to have 100,000 £ by the time he died
  • Was elected Superintendent of Hawke’s Bay in 1866 by defeating Colenso
  • Led the chase for Te Kooti in the Hawke’s Bay
  • Became Native Minister and Defence Minister under the Fox government of 1872
  • Solved disputes with the King Movement throughout the 1870s
  • Was knighted in 1874
  • Established a Maori school in 1877
  • Passed away that same year

Was a man with strong beliefs, and followed them strongly. Believed in European settlement in New Zealand, but only with Maori consent – however, his understanding of what Maori consent really was lacked, leading to the Taranaki War. However, he was a long serving and committed bureaucrat, who did all he could to improve the colony.


Hone Heke – Chief and Warrior

  • Was born to a Rangatira and was the nephew of Hongi Hika
  • Was baptized at birth under the recommendation of Williams
  • Distinguished himself in intertribal wars in Kororakea (1830) and Tauranga (1833)
  • Eventually settled in Kaikohe, where he levied a toll on all travelers
  • First conflict with the government came in 1837, when another chief sold some land to the government which Heke claimed was his – the other chief’s Pa was routed
  • Was the first and most influential chief to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, but quickly became disillusioned when his revenue from whaling ships was diverted to the Crown
  • When his tribe murdered a European family an arrest warrant was launched for him
  • Heke advocated rebellion, but Tamati Waka Nene and other moderates opposed him
  • In 1844 he launched the attack on the British flagpole at Kororakea
  • Heke allied himself with Kawiti, who launched another attack on the flagstaff at Kororakea; Tamati Waka Nene’s troops refused to seek revenge
  • After the flagpole fell for the fourth time, the British abandoned Kororakea and Heke sacked the town
  • Heke and Kawiti built a Pa at te Ahuahu, and the Northern Wars took place in which ultimately ended in a stalemate
  • Was badly injured in the wars
  • Although originally apathetic to Grey’s peaceful overtures, he negotiated peace with Grey
  • Was allowed to settle in Kaikohe until his death in 1850, where he was given a Christian burial

A tall, clever, and splendidly proportioned warrior, Hone Heke was chivalrous in war and much respected as a leader and chief. His pride and restless ambition were the only real flaws which marred his greatness.


Kawiti – Chief and Warrior

  • Was born into the Ngati Hine hapu of Ngapuhi in
  •  1774
  • His hapu were rivals of Heke’s hapu
  • Was one of the first chiefs to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, but like Heke became quickly disillusioned
  • He joined Heke’s rebellion because of the public demand of his people
  • Heke and Kawiti joined forces at the second cutting down of the flagpole at Kororakea
  • Lost his son at Kororakea, and a second at Puketutu
  • Felt disappointed by Heke, and tried to defeat the British by himself
  • Ruapekapeka was his masterpiece, regarded as the greatest feat of Maori engineering at that time
  • Was more receptive to Grey’s peaceful overtures than Heke
  • After he and Heke negotiated peace, he was granted a pardon and refused to have anything more to do with Heke
  • He joined the Church and was baptised by Williams in 1853
  • Died 1854 in Pakaraka

Kawiti possessed a noble and chivalrous nature and was a pillar of strength to the Ngapuhi. It was his misfortune that in the early years of the new regime he had to choose between two loyalties – the abstract sovereignty of the Crown and what he believed were the needs and aspirations of his people. Under the circumstances it is not surprising that he chose the latter.


Tamati Waka Nene – Chief and Kupapa Warrior

  • Born in 1780 as the son of a noted Ngapuhi warrior
  • Fought with Hika in the Musket Wars, and was one of the first Maori chiefs to be baptised, and embraced and protected the missionaries
  • Urged other chiefs to sign the Treaty in 1840
  • Fought on Hobson’s side against Heke and Kawiti, although many of his men would not fight for the side of the British against such a powerful chief
  • Had a key role at the battles of Ohaewai and Ruapekapeka
  • Lobbied Grey for Te Rauparaha’s arrest
  • Was squire to Grey when he was knighted in 1848, and was granted an annual pension of £100 by the British
  • Queen Victoria sent him the gift of a silver goblet
  • Was against the King Movement of the 1860s
  • Died in 1871 and buried in the Bay of Islands

.Waka Nene represented Maori who supported British colonialism in New Zealand. He was even prepared to compromise his Ngapuhi alliances to ensure this, as well as opposing his good friend Potatau Te Wherowhero. His was renowned for his generosity, and spent his first annual pension on helping develop Maori industry. Even at his death, he was a man who commanded a lot of mana.


Potatau Te Wherowhero – Maori King

  • Born in 1800 near Taupiri, the son of a Waikato Ariki
  • His tribe suffered massively to Hongi Hika during the Musket Wars
  • However, Te Wherowhero led successful campaigns against this time against Te Rauparaha and Ngati Toa
  • Also defeated Ngati Awa, although his campaign was costly
  • Became attached to Christianity, but was never baptised
  • In 1840 Te Wherowhero refused to sign the Treaty, although he was not hostile to Europeans in his area
  • Grey tried very hard to persuade Te Wherowhero – he built him a cottage at Mangere and consulted him on many issues; he was one of the squires at Grey’s knighthood
  • Te Wherowhero and Nene secured Te Rauparaha’s release
  •  Was installed as King with the foundation of the King Movement in 1858
  • He grew more and more hostile to Grey and the Europeans during his brief reign
  • Died in Ngarawahia 1860

Potatau Te Wherowhero stood over 6ft tall and was one of the most famous warriors of his day. He was an eloquent orator and, as high priest of Tainui, was well versed in the traditions of his own race. Gorst records that the name “Te Wherowhero” means “redman” and that the great Waikato chief got this title from being the first among his people to obtain and wear a scarlet blanket. “Potatau”, meaning “he that counts by night”, was given to him at the death of his wife, for whom his love was so great that he sat sleepless for many nights while she lay dying – “counting”, as the Maoris put it, “her last hours”.


Rewi Maniapoto – Warrior

  • Born 1815 as the Ngati Maniapoto Ariki
  • Joined Te Wherowhero in his campaign against Ngati Awa
  • Joined his Ngati Maniapoto tribe with Te Whrowheoro’s Waikato in the King Movement
  • At the ceremony where Potatau was installed, Maniapoto hoisted the King’s Flag
  • Led the Kingite troops in the Taranaki Wars, gaining a resounding victory
  • Did not recognize Grey’s authority in the Kingite regions, although Pakeha were tolerated, however when Grey’s government tried to counter his mana he led a taua against his envoy in the Waikato
  • After war broke out, Rewi became the commander of the Kingite forces
  • Tried to bring the war into his own territory
  • Managed to hole up Cameron’s forces for many months until reinforcements could arrive
  • After he retreated in the New Zealand Wars the Government pardoned him, and in 1869 he invited Donald McLean into the Waikato
  • In the same year Rewi Maniapoto accompanied Te Kooti in his wars, but advised the King Movement against intervention
  • Visited Auckland in 1879 at the invitation of John Sheehan, the Native Minister, where he received a hero’s welcome
  • Was anti-land sales all his life and constantly fought against immorality in the king Country
  • Was visited by Seddon in 1894, and a public monument was unveiled of him
  • He died two months later in 1894

Although short and slender in stature, Rewi excelled as a military tactician, and in battle forswore the traditional Maori practices, choosing rather to abide by the Pakeha rules of war. Writing of Rewi in 1888 E. W. Payton said that he was “the most courteous and dignified old gentleman he had ever met of a so called savage tribe”.


Wiremu Kingi Rangitake – Activist

  •  Born in1795 on the Waitara River
  • Migrated to Wellington in 1833 to get closer to Wellington
  • When Wakefield arrived, Wiremu Kingi signed the Queen Charlotte Sound deed, showing that he was willing to sell land
  • His words influenced Te Rauparaha’s decision to join the King Movement
  • Made land claims on the Waitara in 1843, causing the Waitara Affair over the bloc of land
  • Continued to insist that he was the true holder of the area – “no Maori owned land, the land was owned by all the people to be used communally and individually and not to be possessed. Under Maori custom no land could be sold without the consent of all the people. As leader he must make a decision in accordance with the people's demands”
  • In 1867 he rejected an offer by Titokowaru to join his guerrilla warfare
  • Lived with Te Whiti in the 1870s and 1880s and ‘fought’ at Parihaka
  • Passed away in seclusion in 1882

The Government's treatment of him over the Waitara Block is a controversial incident in New Zealand history. Sir George Grey was anxious to remedy what he considered an injustice, and both Sir William Martin and Bishop Selwyn warmly championed the chief whose arms in early days had so often protected the English settlers.


Duncan Cameron – General

  • Born to another soldier in 1808
  • Entered the Army in 1825, and fought in the Crimean War as part of the Black Watch
  • Was given the rank of Major General, and led the Highland-Brigade at Balaclava
  • Became the Major-General of Scottish forces in 1860
  • Succeeded General Pratt as commander in New Zealand in 1861, as the Great South Road was being built
  • Led the British forces in the Waikato Wars, which forced the Kingites back to the Aukati
  • Did not attack when he felt enemy forces were larger
  • Greatly admired the Maori warriors
  • Returned to England in 1868, was promoted to General in 1874 and from 1868-75 was the Governor of the Royal Military College at Sandhurst
  • Died in Blackheath 1888

Cameron greatly admired Maori valour and military enterprise and maintained that only well-trained and disciplined regular troops could overcome them. He had no confidence in the various schemes for military pensioners and settlers. He was not a happy choice for command in New Zealand. A soldier of the old school, he relied on the formal methods of siege, sap, and garrison when conditions demanded a greater degree of mobility. Governor Grey found him “an impatient, ill-tempered, injudicious old man”, but undoubtedly Grey's own uneasy relations with his colonial Ministers added friction to a difficult association. This situation was worsened when the British Government gave Cameron an equal share in the responsibility of authorising operations which would result in large-scale land confiscation. Cameron's interpretation of the scene was such that his rigid sense of responsibility made him unwilling to risk either the troops under his command or the expenditure of United Kingdom money in enterprises which he felt ran contrary both to his instructions and to the long-term interests of the two races in New Zealand. His unambiguous attitude, which was upheld in England, precipitated the self-reliance policy of the later 1860s.


Rawiri Puhirake – Chief and Warrior

  • His date of birth and whakapapa is unknown, although he was from the Tukairangi hapu of Ngai te Rangi
  • He took part in the Musket Wars against Ngapuhi and Te Arawa
  • Was involved in land disputes around the Tauranga region
  • Refused to get involved in the King Movement, as he felt it would threaten his tribe
  • However, when British troops arrived in Tauranga in 1864 he was forced into war, and subsequently won the Tauranga campaign
  • He died during the end of the campaign after the great victory at Gate Pa
  • Peace was negotiated after his death
  • His remains were exhumed in 1874, and given a Christian burial

Despite this defeat, in the peace negotiations which followed Ngai Te Rangi were able to bargain for a compromise agreement, which allowed them to make a symbolic submission to the government and to retain most of their lands. Governor George Grey sought to explain the terms of settlement as recognition of the chivalry of Ngai Te Rangi warriors and the compassion with which Puhirake had directed his people to act towards wounded British troops after the battle at Pukehinahina.



  • His date of birth is unknown, but was born into the Ngati Raphine tribe of South Taranaki
  • Organised a campaign against Government forces by picking soldiers of local Maori tribes
  • Was an incredible skilful warrior, especially at guerilla tactics – he fought in the bush and attacked small military posts
  • Revived old Maori traditions such as cannibalism - “I have begun to eat the flesh of the white man, I have eaten him like the flesh of the cow, cooked in a pot”
  • Based his Pa at Te Ngutu o te Manu, near Hawera, where he brought back old Maori divinity
  • Famously defeated both militia led by the famed Von Tempsky and Government troops in 1868
  • However, he lost his power at his Pa of Tauranga-Ika after having relations with another chief’s wife
  • Was harrowed by former allies, and had to give up his life as a military leader
  • Retired to Waitara in 1875, and died in 1888

Remembered for his outstanding military leadership, he was a master tactician in guerilla warfare; as an engineer he modified the fortified pa and made it virtually indestructible, even to artillery and mortar fire. In later years he came under the influence of Te Whiti and led the ploughing parties at Parihaka.


Rikirangi te Turiki te Kooti – Warrior and Religious Leader

  • Born in 1830 near Gisbourne, a member of the Ngati Maru hapu of Ngati Porou
  • Was not a chief by birth but did have impressive whakapapa
  • Educated at the Warenga-a-hika Mission School
  • Became a horse dealer, then a trader
  • Was accused of being a spy for rebels, however it seems likely that he was trying to get them to surrender
  • However, he was sent to the Chatham Islands as a prisoner without trial
  • Contracted tuberculosis, but miraculously recovered
  • Formed his own church, Ringatu, after claiming he had a Divine Revelation
  • With the aid of some tricks, Te Kooti converted the other inmates to his church
  • In 1868 he and the other prisoners captured the supply ship the Rifleman in a bloodless crew
  • Landed south of Poverty Bay, and released the crew of the ship
  • Refused to surrender and won a battle against the British Government in the Ruakituri Gorge
  • Gathered his forces at Puketapu Pa, and sacked the nearby town of Matawhero
  • Won another battle at Makaretu where he won a battle again in 1869
  • Escaped into the King Country, but did not get support from the King
  • Launched attacks from the Ureweras on kupapa Ngati Porou from 1870-72
  • Settled near Te Kuiti, and was granted Tawhiao’s protection to develop his Ringatu faith
  • Met governor Grey in 1878
  • Promised not to take up arms again
  • Died in Ohiwa in 1893

Te Kooti was about 5 ft 9 in. in height, possessed regular aquiline features, and was not tattooed. He sported a small pointed beard. Europeans who met him often professed to be shocked when they realised that the mild-mannered man before them had planned the deeds associated with his name. The attack on Matawhero, intended partly for a traditional Maori utu (revenge for past wrongs) and partly to show the Government that he was not to be trifled with, transformed Te Kooti into a legend. His guerilla campaigns were carefully planned and ruthlessly executed. Time and again he proved that he was more than a match for the best colonial forces. As a warrior Te Kooti was not as bloodthirsty as Titokowaru, for he refused to allow his people to indulge in cannibalism or to practice the traditional mutilations of their dead enemies. Modern research tends to support Te Kooti's assertion that his wars arose out of his claim for justice.

King Tawhaio te Wherowhero – Maori King

  •  Born in 1825 at Mokau after the Waikato defeat during the Musket Wars, the son of Potatau te Wherowhero, the Waikato Ariki
  • Never attended a mission school, but was baptized in 1827
  • Was supported over his sister in 1860 when his father died
  • Tried to keep a balance between the moderates and the extremists led by Rewi Maniapoto within the King Movement, but Maniapoto won out in the end
  • When Grey declared war realized that Pa warfare was useless against Cameron, and urged Maniapoto to adopt guerilla tactics; however he was ignored
  • Made peace with the government form his home in Te Kuiti after Ngarawahia
  • Accepted a concept plan for self-determination, but the hard line members of the King Movement blocked this
  •  After peace in 1881 Tawhaio visited Auckland, where he received a hero’s welcome
  • Put his grievances before the Colonial Office, but was rejected
  • Died in 1894, and his some, Mahuta Tawhiao, took over the kingship of the King Movement

Tawhaio was always a moderate willing to compromise, however because he always liked the voices of other heard his government fell victim to hardliners, such as Rewi Maniapoto. He was an underrated tactician and leader, which weakened the King Movement.


Julius Vogel - Politician

  • Born in London 1835, and was brought up by his grandfather after his parents died in 1848
  • Became a merchant with interests in the West Indies and South America
  • Arrived in Melbourne 1852, and opened a business supplying groceries to miners
  • Was interested in journalism, and edited many local papers
  • Emigrated to New Zealand in 1856, and represented the suburb of Avoca in the Otago Provincial Government
  •  Founded the Otago Daily Times in 1861
  • Advocated the separation of the North Island from the South Island, to relieve the South Island of heavy debt
  • Bought the Auckland based Southern Cross in 1870
  • Attempted twice in 1863 to join the House of Representatives, but failed
  • His ideas were often outside the scope of Provincial Government
  • Carried the resolution in 1866 to unite Otago and Southland, but again was defeated for the House of Representatives
  • Was finally elected when no-one turned up the swearing in ceremony except him
  • Became Colonial Treasurer in 1869, as well as Postmaster-General and Commissioner for Customs
  • Soon became the real exponent in Fox’s ministry, despite the fact that he was not Prime Minister
  • Passed his reforms resolution in 1870, which allowed for his £10 million pound reform - “We recognize that the great wants of the Colony are – public works, in the shape of roads and railways; and immigration … the two are, or ought to be, inseparably united.…”
  • Raised much of the money himself in England, and personally granted contracts
  • Later became member for Auckland City East, where he was far more popular than Otago
  • Established his own ministry in 1873
  • Was affected by the depression, and his borrowing principles became unpopular
  • Resigned from government in 1876, and became Agent-General
  • Severed his connection with New Zealand in 1880 after a dispute with the Government over his relationship with a business; returned to Britain
  • Visited New Zealand in 1882 and 1183 as representatives of companies
  • Put himself forward as a candidate in 1884, and was re-elected as people forgot his unpopularity in the 1870s as his boom policies were remembered
  • Became joint Prime Minister with Stout in 1884 until 1887
  • His tenure was a disaster, as he failed to stop recession. He continued borrowing, which accelerated it
  • He stepped down from his seat in 1889, and returned to England on a New Zealand pension
  • Published a science fiction novel in 1889, names Woman’s Destiny, where he prophesized that in they year 2000 politics would be dominated by women
  • Died 1899 in London

Vogel's politics were like his nature, imaginative – and occasionally brilliant – but reckless and speculative. He was an excellent policymaker but he needed a strong leader to restrain him. His sense of timing was excellent, but he lacked the ability to control his followers. Neither was he determined nor strong enough to withstand unpopularity in pursuance of his ideas. To ensure the continuance of his political career he moved from one electorate to another – Christchurch North was the only seat he contested twice – and when he became nationally unpopular he left the country. Yet Vogel had vision. He saw New Zealand as a potential “Britain of the South Seas”, strong both in agriculture and in industry, and inhabited by a large and flourishing population. His beliefs are best illustrated in a passage from a letter he wrote to his friend, W. H. Reynolds, on 27 December 1879. “I have an absorbing affection for New Zealand,” he wrote, “and it is intolerable to me to see its prosperity marred and retarded. – The Statesmen of New Zealand should remember that their work is the heroic one of Colonization – Questions of Whigs and Tories liberals and conservatives are comparatively of little moment to them compared with the one main question of how they can settle in the colony a large happy and contented community.” Vogel was essentially expansionist. From the early days in 1865, when he proposed a scheme to Stafford for the disposal and settlement of native lands by a gigantic lottery, to his final attempt to work an economic miracle with borrowed capital in 1884–87, he had been eager to force the development of the colony to the utmost. He had tried to build up the provinces, but eventually he came to realise their limitations, whereupon he transferred his activities to the national stage and farther. Beyond the level of national politics, expansionism meant extension of the British Empire. In 1876 he protested against Britain's lack of interest in the Pacific, and later warned of German intentions. Even in his last Ministry he had not lost his interest in colonial acquisitions, and in 1884 offered New Zealand capital to pay some of the costs of governing New Guinea. Vogel was undoubtedly a talented man and a gifted politician. It was unfortunate both for himself and for New Zealand that his abilities could not have been directed along far more profitable lines for the benefit of the colony.


John Atkinson – Politician

  • Born in Cheshire 1831 to an architect
  • Was educated at Rochester School in Blackheath
  • Studied history, public administration, theology and colonial affairs
  • Emigrated to Auckland in 1853, and moved to New Plymouth soon after
  • Had a strong interest in politics, and represented the Grey and Bell District of Taranaki in the Taranaki Provincial Council in 1860
  • Led troops in the Taranaki War at the battle of Waireka
  • Was elected to represent Grey and Bell in the House of Representatives in 1861, and also served as Deputy Superintendent of Taranaki
  • Became Minister of Defence in 1864
  • Resigned from parliament in 1866, but soon returned after being elected as the Representative for New Plymouth
  • Was considered as possible commander-in-chief against Titokowaru and Te Kooti, but left for a three year visit to Britain at the time
  • When he returned in 1871, the New Zealand Wars were all but over, and Atkinson could concentrate wholly on politics
  • Was in favour of abolishing the Provincial Government system
  • Became Provincial Secretary for Taranaki in 1874
  • Joined Vogel’s Ministry, and assumed leadership in 1875-76
  • He pushed through the Bill abolishing the provinces, and cut down some of the extravagant side of Vogel’s borrowing
  • After depression struck in 1879, Atkinson became Colonial Treasurer under Hall and then Whitaker, and became Premier again in 1883
  • Was regarded as boring, and lost to Vogel extravagance in 1884 and was in opposition to Vogel and Stout, who intensified the depression
  • In October 1887 Atkinson headed a ministry whose task was to restore the finances of the colony, and cut land expenditures by 90% in three years, whilst both exports and imports fell
  • Atkinson’s health began to fail towards the end of his tenure, and tried to recuperate in Tasmania which failed
  • By 1890 he could not attend parliament
  • Lost the 1890 election narrowly to John Ballance
  • Resigned shortly after, and became the Speaker of the Legislative Council
  • Died in parliament in 1892

Atkinson has been described in the past as a Conservative and one of the last of the landed oligarchy to hold political power in New Zealand. Apart from the fact that Atkinson himself had only a relatively small holding in a province where farming up to the nineties was essentially on a subsistence level, recent research has shown that the real division in New Zealand politics in the seventies and eighties was not between “Liberals” and “Conservatives”. The important split was brought about by the attitudes of politicians towards Sir Julius Vogel's 1870 borrowing scheme. Almost immediately after its enunciation, the House of Representatives–and the colony as a whole–divided into those who supported it unconditionally and those who wanted a more prudent application of it to the country's needs. The former supported wholeheartedly–usually for parochial reasons–the expenditure of loan money with little thought for other financial considerations. The cautious group, however, while approving the principle of borrowing, insisted that the scheme should be carefully administered, that it must not cause inflation or speculation, and that it must not affect the country's trading position. Atkinson was only one of the leaders of the group–among others were Stafford, Hall, and Rolleston–but he was the most determined and capable of them. He had advocated military self-reliance during the Maori wars of the sixties, and this policy he adapted to finance and economics in the seventies and eighties. Unfortunately, his ideas were heeded only in times of depression. Often he and his followers found themselves forced to enact stringent and unpopular financial measures to restore the stability which had been upset by preceding “bold” borrowing ministries. Atkinson was not “cautious” in a solely negative way. He agreed with moderate borrowing combined with careful administration of the loan capital. But when, in 1887, it became obvious that the colony could not afford to borrow further, it was Atkinson and his Ministry who reoriented New Zealand's economy along the lines of self-sufficiency. While enforcing retrenchment, he also endeavoured with increasing success to build up colonial industry (which he protected by the tariff of 1888), and to settle more small farmers on the new dairy lands of the North Island. Atkinson has also been described as a Conservative because of an alleged resistance to social change. Yet he solidly supported Bowen's Education Bill in 1877, and it was only the defeat of the Government that allowed Grey to enact the legislation in the name of the “Liberals”. It was with Atkinson's continued support that land legislation was enacted to protect the small farmer. Although he had believed in freehold tenure in his early life, his ideas had changed and it was while he was either Premier or Colonial Treasurer that Donald Reid and Rolleston had developed the system of deferred payments and perpetual lease to encourage small-scale land tenure. In appearance Atkinson was very much the “colonial” of his day, bearded and powerful, with the look of a man on the land or–as he himself preferred to put it–a yeoman. Although not a great orator in the House, he was a pugnacious debater and constantly disconcerted his opponents by his irritating laugh or sneer. As Premier he ruled his supporters with a heavy hand and would, as George Fisher picturesquely put it, “do a regular war dance before the caucus” if ministerial policies were questioned. During his final period as Premier, Atkinson's Government was twice defeated in the House and, on another occasion, faced a revolt among its supporters. On that occasion he had to rely upon the Opposition's support to force his Tariff Bill through the House, and he gained a reputation for political intrigue. Nevertheless, in spite of his shortcomings Atkinson is one of the few political leaders in New Zealand history who, after having led a ministry, could serve later in a subordinate ministerial position.

John Ballance – Politician

  •  Born 1839 in Ireland, father was a Puritan and his mother was a Quaker
  • Left home at 14 and became an ironmonger in Birmingham, where he learnt about political theory
  • Learnt at the Midland Institute, where he studied history and politics
  • Belonged to many literary and debating societies
  • Migrated to Wanganui in 1866, and opened a jeweller’s shop
  • Became a newspaper publisher in 1867, and published the first Herald
  • Formed a cavalry unit against Titokowaru, but was arrested when he opposed conscription
  • Rejoined the army after his released, and became a cornet in the cavalry regiment
  • Entered politics in 1873 standing as a pro-centralist in the Egmont Electorate
  • However, he retired in favour of Harry Atkinson
  • Was elected into the House of Representatives in 1875 as a member for Rangitikei, voting for the abolition of provinces, the key issue of the election
  • Severed his connection with Atkinson in 1877, and joined Grey’s Liberals
  • Became Commissioner of Customs and Minister for Education, and later Colonial Treasurer in Grey’s 1878 government
  • His budget was renown for being anti-land monopoly
  • Resigned later in 1878 after a fallout with Grey, but became the member for Wanganui in 1879
  • In 1881 he was defeated, but was re-elected in 1884, 1887 and 1890
  • Was the Minister for Lands, Defence and Native Affairs under the Stout-Vogel government
  • Sought to limit the alienation of crown lands, and the aggregation of land by monopolists
  • As Lands Minister he is credited with settling 1000 people, and began negotiations with King Country Maori as Native Affairs Minister
  • Was the leader of the opposition to Atkinson’s government, although was not elected to the position of Leader of the Opposition in 1889
  • Adapted Liberal British political thinking to New Zealand
  • In what would be known as a watershed election, Ballance won the 1890 election
  • Fulfilled most of his election promises through his land and labour reforms of the 1890s
  • Was often described by Atkinson as a socialist, the term State Socialism became commonly attached to his government
  • Frequently came up against Conservative opposition, which prevented many of his reforms
  • Favoured expansion into the Cook Islands, and was extremely anti-French
  • Became seriously ill in 1892, and died after two operations in 1893 whilst in office

Despite his lack of formal academic training, Ballance was a studious scholarly man who read both widely and deeply on political and social questions. Gentle and kindly, he was no weakling but a man of great sincerity and considerable determination. His kindness of heart was such that he was sometimes imposed upon. His private secretary claimed that, despite the irksome cares of office, Ballance was never irritable and always showed the most amazing patience. Neither particularly brilliant nor ready in debate, he was nonetheless a clear and forceful speaker who prepared his main speeches with elaborate care. In this respect, he improved with experience and, as Leader of the House; he built up a reputation for knowledgeable speaking and great courtesy. Ballance's greatest contribution to New Zealand history lay in his quality as a leader and in his success in forming a strong political party which was able to hold the reins of office for 20 years. In opposition, he successfully welded the Liberal members into a team, and, in power, he fused the Liberal and Labour elements among his supporters into one party. Seddon inherited not only a policy and a political programme but also an instrument of political power. Ballance's colleagues paid high tribute to his qualities as a man.


Robert Stout – Politician

  • Was born in the Shetland Islands in 1844 to a merchant a small landowner
  •  Was educated at Lerwick Grammar School, and then the local parish where he was dux in 1858
  • Became a pupil tutor, and a chartered surveyor
  • Was also a temperance advocate, radical land reformer and opponent of religion
  • Left for the Otago gold rush in 1863, and arrived in Dunedin in 1864
  • Could not get a job as a surveyor, and became a teacher and founded New Zealand’s first teacher labour movement
  • Formed the first Freemasons Lodge in New Zealand in 1866
  • Became a clerk at a law office in 1867
  • Enrolled at Otago university in 1873, and became its first law lecturer despite the fact that he did not hold a degree
  • Won a by-election in 1872 for Caversham, and joined the Otago Provincial Council
  • Joined the House of Representatives after the abolition of the provinces
  • In 1878 he became the Land Claims Commissioner, Minister of and Minister of Immigration under Grey
  • Resigned from parliament in 1879 after his law partner fell ill
  • After five years of legal work he rejoined the government in 1884, and became co-premier with Julius Vogel
  • When Vogel suffered poor health, he handed the premiership to Stout
  • Was Premier, Attorney-General and Minister of Education
  • He set up the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, reformed the Civil Service, oversaw the development of rail into the King Country and supported a liquor prohibition
  • Stout refused to accept government responsibility for relief measures during the depression
  • Was defeated by a motion of no confidence led by Atkinson in 1887
  • Knighted while in opposition
  • Was always in touch with the working class, and was a member of the conciliation committee of the 1890 Maritime Strike
  • Was described by his colleagues as someone who ‘stated the case for unionists better than they ever stated it themselves’
  • Did not stand in the 1890 election, but was a key advisor to Ballance as his house was deteriorating
  • Ballance wanted to secure a seat for Stout before he passed away, however Ballance died before Stout gained a seat
  • However, Stout won a by-election and challenged Seddon, who took over the premiership
  • He was defeated by Seddon, after Grey gave Seddon his support
  • Introduced the Temperance Bill, but Seddon would not let it pass
  • Became Representative of Wellington City in 1893
  • Opened up a law practice there in 1895
  • Continued to challenge Seddon, but was defeated again in 1897
  • Resigned from the house in 1898 to attend to his own financial interests
  • Became Chief Justice in 1899, and was leader of the New Zealand Bar
  • Was extremely liberal within the justice system
  • Appointed to the Privy Council in 1921
  • Resigned from the Chief Justiceship in 1926 and was called to the Legislative Council
  • His health began to fail that year, and died in 1930

Stout was a man of commanding presence, natural dignity, and genuine kindliness of heart. As a debater in Parliament and as advocate in the Courts of law he has had few, if any, equals in New Zealand history. He was strong in logic and quick in perception; his wide if rather miscellaneous reading gave him a great store of knowledge of many kinds to draw upon; he used all the tricks of the advocate, including his hearty laugh, to disconcert his adversaries; but there was no malice behind the blows he inflicted in the cut and thrust of debate. His time as Attorney-General and Premier was not as long as it had promised to be; but he proved himself capable of drafting and carrying through important legislation. He was an ardent champion of many causes, most of them good. His early success had given him great self-confidence, but it made this early opponent of dogmatism dogmatic in his old age; he seldom thought it possible that he might be mistaken. The times moved on and the young radical came to appear a high and dry Conservative. He was much inferior to Seddon as a politician and, had he succeeded Ballance, his government would not have lasted as long; but he had set his face against the materialism which was beginning to dominate New Zealand politics and he did not despise ideas as Seddon did. His premiership might have been no bad thing for the Liberal Party or for New Zealand.


Richard Seddon – Politician

  • Born in St. Helens in 1845, the son of two school teachers
  • Was an unpromising child, and was removed from school at the age of 12
  • Worked on a farm for two years, and then an ironmongers apprentice
  • Was dismissed for demanding higher pay
  • Went on to work at a foundry, but became ill with smallpox and moved to Australia at the age of 18 in 1863
  • Mined gold for a while with little success and then worked on the railways in Melbourne
  • After the Hokitika gold rush in 1866 Seddon moved to New Zealand
  • Again was unsuccessful in New Zealand and set up a store with a liquor license
  • Unsuccessful as a businessman, and ran for the Westland Provincial Council in 1870 – was unsuccessful
  • However, he did become the chairman of the Arahura Road Board in 1871
  • Was renowned on the goldfields as an athlete and a fist fighter, and gained notoriety
  • He was, however, an inexperienced public speaker, and lacked intelligence
  • Was finally elected the Wetland Provincial Council in 1874 as an advocate of better conditions on the goldfields
  • When the Provincial Government was abolished, he held a seat on the Westland County Council in 1876
  • Had an astonishing ability for legal work, and became a lay-lawyer in 1876
  • Was elected as the mayor of Kumara in 1877
  • Stood for the House of Representatives for Hokitika as a supporter of Grey in 1879, and entered Central Government
  • Began associating with Ballance and Stout in 1881
  • Supported the Maritime Strikers of 1890
  • When it became clear that the Liberals had a majority in parliament, Seddon was given the Public Works, Mining, Defence and Marine portfolios
  • His most important reform was the institution of the co-operative contract system on public works
  • Was chosen in 1893 by the cabinet to become Prime Minister
  • Defeated Stout in the challenge that same year
  • Introduced many land settlement and industrial relations reforms, but often came across Conservative opposition
  • Tried to keep a balance between the temperance and alcohol lobbies, and was successful
  • Was not personally responsible for much of the Liberal policy, but oversaw it
  • Managed to pack the Legislative Council with Liberals, changing a permanent trend which had plagued the governments of Stout and Ballance
  • Gained the Native Affairs portfolio in 1893
  • Moved to Wellington in 1895
  • His majority was reduced in the 1896 election, but introduced the Old Age Pensions Bill in 1897 despite opposition
  • At the time Maori were regarded as a dying race, and Seddon avoided confiscation but bough 1.5 million acres by 1897
  • Tried unsuccessfully to get Britain to allow New Zealand to administer Samoa and incorporate Fiji into New Zealand
  • Sent troops to the Boer War in 1897
  • Attended King Edward’s coronation in 1902 at the invitation of Lord Kitchener himself
  • Assisted in the peace negotiations in South Africa that same year
  • Resigned from the Premiership in 1902, but remained in parliament until 1908
  • Introduced the Shops and Offices Act in 1904
  • Was rabidly racist against Asians; discouraged Chinese immigration
  • The Labour Party was borne out of his own Liberal Party, and Seddon drastically opposed it
  • Sailed for Sydney for trade negotiations in 1906, and died suddenly of a heart attack

His education had been elementary. In adult life he seldom read anything that was not immediately relevant to the business in hand, but though indifferently literate he possessed to a remarkable degree the capacity for grasping the essence of an intricate question. His public speeches were rambling and verbose, and often contained solecisms. He never entirely lost his Lancashire accent, or became cured of the habit of dropping aitches where they should have been and inserting them where they should not – occasionally with startling effect. Few other extra-political activities diverted his attention from the main chance. Power was the mistress to whom he paid undying devotion. Had he been responsible for the Old Age Pensions Act alone his record as a legislator would stand high, yet it was as manager of the party machine that his ability showed to greatest advantage, and the greater part of his energy was always devoted to gaining control of the sources of power. The basic source was the people's goodwill which Seddon courted assiduously by what might be termed perpetual electioneering. In this pursuit he traveled the length and breadth of the country incessantly. A wonderful memory for names and faces, secured against possible error by the prior promptings of an efficient secretary, enabled him to establish personal contact with a phenomenally large proportion of the electors. His political morality was not immaculate; his patriotism was unduly blatant; the principles of democracy that he advocated so zealously found no place in his Cabinet, his party, or in any institution over which he exercised control; yet the autocratic power he acquired was seldom abused in the larger sphere of Government, and his statesmanship was always guided and governed by a genuine love of humanity.

George Henry Moore – Farmer

  • Was born in the Isle of Man 1816, the son of a minister
  • Emigrated to Tasmania in 1840
  • Moved to New Zealand in 1856 to seek the tax incentives that Governor Grey was offering
  • Eventually purchased 28,000 acres near Lyttleton
  • Farmed sheep, despite the challenges pastoralists faced at the time
  • By 1875, his run was the largest in New Zealand
  • Based his farm around his palatial mansion of Glenmark
  • Glenmark burnt down in 1891, regarded as a massive tragedy for New Zealand historians
  • Died 1906 in Christchurch

Mr. Moore, with iron will, surmounted all obstacles. His strong constitution was evident in that he occasionally walked from Glenmark to town in a day. He has been met on the Port Hills before the day of the railway, making his way to look after the shipping of wool, obtaining his station supplies, and attending to other business. The station supplies were sent from Lyttleton to Saltwater creek, and drawn by bullock teams to Glenmark, and the wool from the station, to the extent of over 1,500 bales in the season, reached home-going wool ships in small vessels and steamers from Saltwater creek and Kaiapoi. In July, 1856, with his partner, Mr. Kermode, 29,360 acres were taken up at the mouths of the Rakaia and Ashburton. In February, 1858, 36,000 acres at the Hinds and other blocks were added to their holdings. From time to time, after the opening of the railways, thousands of sheep from these runs, north and south, were exchanged by means of long stock trains. Glenmark was once offered for sale as a going concern. This was in March, 1873, at Miles and Co.'s wool stores, the occasion being to decide the partnership account between Messrs Moore and Kermode. The sale attracted the largest gathering of stock and station owners ever seen before, and some from Australia. Messrs Matson and Co. were the auctioneers, Mr. H. Matson having allowed time for "the fortification of the inner man," as stated by the “Illustrated Press," proceeded to business. The first lot submitted was Glenmark. It consisted of 35.781 acres of freehold and 11,500 acres of leasehold, with 25,400 sheep. After a bid from Mr. Moore of £65.000, there was some lively bidding between him and the Hon. W. Robinson, of Cheviot, till amid much applause, it was knocked down to Mr. Moore at £85,000. The neat lot, Deans Peaks, consisting of 4,099 acres of freehold and 7,50b acres of leasehold, with 5,000 merino sheep, started at £7,000 from Mr. Moore, and after a sharp contest reached £13,500, the purchaser being Mr. Frank Courage. A block of 3,959 acres at Waipara was bought by Mr. Moore for £6,500. The Black Hills, 34,670 acres, held under depasturing license, and 12,500 sheep was neat put under offer, and was acquired by Mr. Moore for £13,500. The Doctors hills, 32,306 acres, under lease and 84 acres of freehold, with 12,500 sheep, after fast and furious bidding was also secured by Mr. Moore for £14,750. Fifty acres at Weka Pass he secured at 309 per acre, and one hundred acres at Saltwater Creek at £10 10s per acre. The Ashburton station provoked much competition; 7,000 acres of freehold and 66,000 acres of leasehold land with 4,000 sheep, were secured by Mr. Moore far £52,000, who outbid Mr. R. A. Rhodes. Messrs Kermode and Moore's properties at that sale realised £186,574. The Glenmark station appointments, as times improved with its progressive order, became the beet in Canterbury. Great energy was shown in regard to cultivation, tree planting, water supply, and subdivision, and the ideas of a gentleman who had lived a rough and strenuous life, as time and opportunity served, developed in the erection of a palatial house, with garden and artificial water worthy of a highly refined ambition. When the capital valuation of Glenmark reached £326,000, it included a house which, with furnishings, had cost £30,000. The stately edifice, complete in every way, formed a great attraction to a few privileged visitors, but it had only been in existence a comparatively few years before it was burned down. This occurred on Friday, January 24th, 1891. The valuable furniture, plate, pictures, tapestry, and cabinets of treasures were all destroyed. There was no insurance, and when asked whether he would build again, Mr. Moore quietly said "No." "Well," said the writer, “will you do as Cheviot owners have done — sell to the Government?" After lunch, in the manager's house, with Mr. Wynn-Williams and Mr. Withnal, of Miles and Co., Mr. Moore produced a copy of the offer which was then made, tendering the Government the whole of Glenmark, minus the homestead block of 4,000 or 5,000 acres, at a very reasonable price — about £4. Mr. Moore left the station and came to live at Park-terrace. Subsequently the Government valuators placed a less price on the land than the owner cared to accept. While the Government missed its chance of acquiring one of the finest estates in New Zealand at what is now an extraordinarily cheap price, the owners of Glenmark have sold most of the land at considerably over the offer to the Government, and persons who purchased have received large offers for the resale of their blocks. Glenmark will be known all over the world among museum authorities for the large find which Mr. Moore made in the 'sixties of moa remains, which have gone to enrich the principal museums with examples of the giant wingless birds of New Zealand. The remains were found in a stream on the Glenmark estate in a hallow of the post-Pliocene alluvium skirting the hillside. The remains included different species of the Dinornis. Both in the swamp and in other parts of the estate remains were found. Skeletons of each species of the moa were found, as is proved by reference to the Canterbury Museum.




Gabriel Read – Gold Miner

  • Born in Tasmania 1824
  • Well educated and well traveled
  • Moved to the gold fields of California in 1840
  • Was unsuccessful but learnt quickly
  • Returned to Australia after the Victoria gold rushes, but left due to the culture of liquour and lawlessness
  • Moved to New Zeaand in 1861 after news of the discovery of gold in Nelson
  • Was told he was wasting his time by looking for gold
  • Gained support from Otago Provincial Council, and received backing from tthen
  • Discovered a big find of easily accessible gold in Tuapeka in 1861
  • Announced his discovery with great publicity, immediately triggering the gold rush
  • Accepted a paid position as an official ‘gold discoverer’
  • Found some more gold, but was not happy with his job and was relieved of his duties after a £1,000 golden handshake
  • Traveled through the South Island extensively, before returning to Tasmania
  • Returned to New Zealand in 1894, at the age of 70

Probably nothing in the personality and character of Gabriel Read became him more than his downright and almost over conscientious altruism. He was at his best in the company of those who shared with him a background of public interest. He had had experience of the violence of other gold-mining communities and had sampled the form of outlawry that seemed to be the accepted thing among the many desperate men he encountered. These conditions dismayed him, and he employed his strongest efforts to prevent them from developing in Tuapeka. By common consent he acted as an umpire in the innumerable disputes over claims which arose by reason of the fact that Gabriel's Gully was not a proclaimed goldfield, and he displayed the greatest concern for the moral and material welfare of the community generally. He encouraged the establishment of religious organisations, and in fact paid £50 out of his own pocket to facilitate the first divine services on the field. Everything the Otago Witness had feared as a consequence of his discovery he laboured incessantly to avoid, and he had the satisfaction of knowing that he was not entirely unsuccessful. He was a fossicker, a miner, and a wanderer, but he showed himself a gentleman as well, and most of those who knew him honoured him for it, even though many of them could not bring themselves to follow his example. When urging the Provincial Council to make the promised £500 into a gratuity double that sum, the Superintendent paid a warm tribute to his “noble and generous disinterestedness” and drew the attention of the community to “the immediate and unreserved communication of his discovery”.

Kate Sheppard – Social Reformer

  • Born Kate Malcolm, Liverpool 1848, daughter of a lawyer
  • Educated in Scotland and emigrated to New Zealand with her family in Christchurch in 1869
  • Joined the WCTU in 1885, and appointed superintendent of the Franchise Department of the WCTU
  • Led the campaign for women’s votes over the next six years
  • Wrote leaflets, corresponded with overseas supporters, contributed to the press and delivered public lectures
  • Married Allan Sheppard, a member of the Christchurch City Council
  • Prepared a parliamentary petition in 1888
  • Led more petitions in 1890, 1891, 1892 and 1893, the last of which achieved the signatures of a third of all women in New Zealand
  • Successfully roused public opinion and gained support from politicians
  • Organised a page for the franchise campaign in both the Prohibitionist and the White Ribbon
  • Women gained the vote in 1893
  • Formed the National Council of Women of New Zealand, and was president until 1914
  • Toured Europe in 1898-1899, where she had a profound effect on the feminist movement
  • Remarried 1925 to a male feminist
  • Died 1934

Kate Sheppard had a profound and lasting effect on New Zealand. Her views, and those of the WCTU, no doubt contributed to both the temperance movement and women’s franchise. However, she ultimately failed to achieve total emancipation of women, and by 1934 full egalitarianism in New Zealand had still not been achieved.


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