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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Hon. Henry John Tancred

The Hon. Henry John Tancred, M.L.C., was a member of three ministries. As one of the four gentlemen who composed the first government—Bell-Sewell—he sat as a member of the Executive Council without portfolio, from the 18th of April to the 20th of May, 1856. In the first Stafford Government which he joined in August, 1858 as a member of the Executive Council, he became Secretary for Crown Lands in the same month, and within three months also accepted the portfolio of Postmaster-General, which offices he held till July 1861 when the Ministry vacated the Treasury Benches. From August 1862, to February 1863, he was again a member of the Executive Council as one of the Domett Administration. The honourable gentleman was a son of Sir Thomas Tancred of Boroughbridge, York, where he was born in 1825. Educated at Rugby, he entered the Austrian Army, serving in Hungary and in Italy. In 1851 he migrated to Canterbury, and two years later was elected to the first Provincial Council. In the following year he was appointed to the Legislative Council in which he occupied a seat for sixteen years. Mr. Tancred became Speaker of the Canterbury Provincial Council in 1866, and retained the office till the abolition of the provinces. He took a deep interest in educational matters; was a member of the Canterbury Board of Education, a governor of Christ's College, Christchurch, and of the Canterbury College. The honourable gentleman was the first page 67 chancellor of the New Zealand University, a position which he filled with distinguished ability from his appointment in 1871 to the date of his death in 1884. His duties as chancellor were to him a labour of love, and the great success of the University has been in a large measure due to his untiring exertions.