Councillor Francis Humphris Fraser,
J.P., is much better known in other connections than that which the above title implies. The office of councillor is one of the latest duties discharged by Mr. Fraser in connection with civic roles. He was elected in 1888, and has held a seat continuously till the present day. But it is chiefly with respect to other work that the present sketch must deal. Mr. Fraser is the central figure of the Temperance Movement in Wellington, a position which he has won by consistent adherence to the principles of abstinence for more than a quarter of a century. He was born in London in 1833 just after the passing of the Reform Bill, and, as if inspired by this coincidence, reform has been the motto of his life. In early childhood he was removed to Edinburgh, where he received the home training that moulded his subsequent career. Watson's Hospital School was the scene of his early studies, and on leaving for London in 1847 he received a highly favourable testimonial from the headmaster. No sooner had Mr. Fraser reached the city of his birth than he engaged in Sunday school work, and although only fifteen years old, soon won the esteem of scholars and teachers alike. On leaving for New Zealand he received many tokens of high regard from his class in the Sunday school. There were several Temperance societies in Wellington when Mr. Fraser disembarked from the good ship “Wild Duck” in 1864, and he at once identified himself with these. Nor was he long in coming to the front rank. The offices he held in connection with the Temperance movement are too numerous to particularise here, but a few of the most important are given. He is District Secretary to the Independent Order of Rechabites, President of the Wellington Gospel Temperance Society and City Mission, Vice-President of the New Zealand Alliance, and Past Chief Templar of I.O.G.T. But Mr. Fraser's energies are by no means confined to Temperance work. On the contrary, the other offices he holds are so numerous that it would require much more space than this sketch admits to give an adequate conception of his functions. He is
chairman of the Wellington Hospital Trustees, member of the United District Charitable Aid Board, member of the Education Board, of the Harbour Board, and of many other institutions. Yet, notwithstanding the onerous duties which the above list suggests, Mr. Fraser has found time to engage in parliamentary contests. In 1884 he contested the seat for Te Aro, and was defeated by Mr. C. J. Johnston, by a majority of only ten votes. However, at the by-election of 1887 he turned defeat into victory, when he contested the seat against Mr. W.T.L. Travers, and was elected by a large majority. He held the seat until the dissolution of Parliament in the same year, and has not entered the House since. In fact, Mr. Fraser serves the city more worthily in the positions he now holds than he could in Parliament, and it is fortunate for Wellington that he has not been called upon to forego these in order to engage in the arena of politics.