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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Mr. Thomas Russell

Mr. Thomas Russell, C.M.G., though not born in New Zealand, has spent the greater part of his life in the country, having been associated with Auckland since about 1840, when he arrived in the Colony. He was articled to the late Mr. Thomas Outhwaite, and, on completing his articles, he commenced his, practice as a barrister and solicitor. His clear and practical mind, combined with a sound judgment, soon placed him, not only at the head of his profession, but established him in the front rank of New Zealand's leading men. To him may be attributed the successful formation of the Bank of New Zealand, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, the New Zealand Insurance Company, and many other important and successful companies, claiming Auckland as their birthplace. He sat for Auckland City East in the House of Representatives from 1861 to 1865. During the Maori war Mr. Russell was a member of the Whitaker-Fox Ministry, and fulfilled the then very onerous duties of Defence Minister in a highly efficient manner. He organised and equipped, at short notice, the various regiments of militia, which he caused to be brought to New Zealand from Australia, as well as the local militia, and a naval force, to assist the Imperial troops. For his services in this connection he received the distinction of a C.M.G. In all matters pertaining to the Thames goldfields, Mr. Russell has taken a leading part. He is chairman of directors and a large shareholder in the Waihi Gold Mining Company, one of the most famous gold mines in the world.