Mr. Thomas Henry Smith,
ex-Judge of the Native Land Court, was born at Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, in 1824. He was educated at a private school at Tollington Park, Hornsey, near London, and afterwards entered the office of a land surveyor and architect at Romford, Essex. At the age of seventeen years he was offered a cadetship by the New Zealand Company's surveying staff in New Zealand, and embarked on the barque “Brougham,” 238 tons, Captain Robertson. This vessel arrived at Port Nicholson on the 9th of February, 1842. At the end of his three years' engagement, Mr. Smith proceeded to Auckland, and joined the Native Protectorate Department of the New Zealand Government, under Mr. George Clarke. He was stationed for a short time at Maketu, Bay of Plenty, where he acquired a competent knowledge of the Maori language, but left the service when the department was abolished in 1846. In 1852, he re-entered the service of the Government, and was appointed Resident Magistrate at Rotorua, and in 1857 he accepted the position of assistant Native Secretary at Auckland. Sir George Grey promoted him to be Civil Commissioner for the Bay of Plenty and Taupo districts in 1862. In 1865 he became
a Judge of the Native Land Court, and held the position until his retirement from the public service in 1876.