The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
Superintendents Of Canterbury
Superintendents Of Canterbury.
The New Zealand Constitution Act was passed by the Imperial Government in June, 1852. It conferred a very considerable measure of self-government on the various provinces of the colony. The superintendent and Council were to be elected every four years; and the qualification—property to the value of £5—was so low that the Act practically decreed universal suffrage. It is noticeable that this extreme extension of the franchise was opposed to the views held by Mr. Godley, who preferred “some more stringent process to distinguish the more moral, more industrious, more educated, and more intelligent portions of the community from the rest, and to confine political power, as far as possible, to the former.” The Constitution Act represented a great advance in the Imperial conception of the value of the colonies from the days when Earl Grey and Lord Derby had refused the request of New South Wales for self-government as “irreconcilable with monarchical institutions.” The Governor of the colony was still, in a measure, supreme; as all provincial legislation was conditioned by his veto, and the powers of the provincial councils were subject to those of the General Assembly. The Governor could dissolve a provincial council at any time, or disallow the election of a superintendent within three months of his return. But as a matter of fact, the provincial councils exercised very wide and ill defined authority. The Constitution Act specified thirteen subjects on which the provincial assemblies might not legislate, such as the customs, post office, marriage laws, criminal laws, bankruptcy; but no merely negative decree could limit the authority of such representative bodies within narrow bounds. Making every allowance for the benefits conferred by the provincial system, by consolidating local interests, and familiarising the whole body of colonists with the theory and practice of government, there can be no reasonable doubt that the councils gradually came to exercise authority in many matters which the spirit, if not the wording, of the Constitution Act intended should be dealt with by the Central Government.
The Constitution Act became operative in 1852, and the first council was elected in 1853. The first election for the post of superintendent resulted in the appointment of Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald. Failing Mr. Godley, who had been in vain requested to accept this office, Mr. Fitzgerald: was probably the best choice that could have been made. He had taken an active part in the work of the Association in England; and his energy, versatility, and many accomplishments had helped him to fill a large space in the public arena of the colony. A party in favour of cheap land—at a figure far below Wakefield's sufficient price—had already arisen in the new settlement: and Colonel Campbell, one of the candidates, was regarded as the nominee of these would-be speculators. The other candidate, Mr. H. J. Tancred, held the same views on land as Mr. Fitzgerald; and the votes of the colonists who wished to keep up the price of land to the original level were thus divided. After an animated contest, Mr. Fitzgerald was declared elected by a large majority; and the “plan” of the settlement, as far as land was concerned, was thus preserved. The reduction of price to £2 per acre within the Canterbury block was the most important work of the first Provincial Council, which was elected on the same lines as the superintendent. The members were Captain Simeon (Speaker), Rev. W. Aylmer, S. Bealey, C. Bowen, J. Cookson, T. Cass, C. Dampier, J. Hall, W. J. W. Hamilton, R. Packer, R. H. Rhodes, and H. J. Tancred. This important change in the land-price, while encouraging genuine investment in land, prevented the Canterbury settlement from falling a prey to the “land sharks” who took full advantage of Sir G. Grey's “10s per acre” scheme in other parts of the colony.
The first Superintendent, Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald, was no ordinary man. He was a good debater, an able writer, and a born orator. Unfortunately he was rather brilliant than successful. Gisborne, in his “New Zealand Statesmen,” says that “he would not give, and he could not command confidence… . With all his great gifts, he was impracticable and unpractical. He was rash, impetuous, and inattentive to good advice; he had too much faith in himself, and too little in others… . He never possessed in adequate measure that rare attribute of a statesman, the art of playing a losing game.” But no one ever questioned his remarkable and varied ability; and while his fervid enthusiasm did much to inspire the early colonists in their struggles and hardships, his fine instincts, his generosity and manly frankness aided to raise the whole tone of the public life in which he moved. For the two years of Mr. Godley's regime, Mr. Fitzgerald acted as police inspector and immigration agent for the settlement; at the same time editing the “Lyttelton Times,” which the Pilgrim Fathers had started within a month of their arrival. The four years of his administration were not marked by any startling crises; but the Council, in its anxiety to discharge its duties conscientiously, undertook a great deal of work that might either have been left alone or left to the Central Government. In 1857, when his term of office expired, Mr. Fitzgerald went to England as Agent-General for the province. In 1854 he had been returned to the House of Representatives as member for Lyttelton, and in that year he was appointed to the Executive Council. He was practically Premier of New Zealand, and his determined stand for responsible government for the colony resulted in the establishment of the present form of government in 1856. After his return from England, his political page 34 and social theories led him, in opposition to the Moorhouse party, to establish in 1861 the “Press” newspaper, to which he was long a contributor. In 1862 he was returned as member for Akaroa, and in 1865 became Native Minister in the Weld Ministry. He always admired the Maori race, and strenuously opposed the coercive policy which in the North Island led to so many disastrous results. In 1886 he retired from public life, accepting the office of Controller General. In 1872 he became Commissioner of Audit, and in 1878 Auditor-General, which office he held till his death, in 1896.
Messrs Barker, Blakiston, Brittan, Donald, Sewell, Ward, and Westenra were prominent members of the Provincial Council during Mr. Fitzgerald's tenure of the Superintendency.
The second Superintendent of Canterbury was William Sefton Moorhouse. He had arrived in Canterbury in 1851, intending to practice as a lawyer: but the Victorian “diggings” and the consequent “rush” suggested Australia as a fitter sphere for his energies. But by 1853 he was again in Canterbury, assisting the “cheap land” party in the first contested election for the office of Superintendent to which Mr. Fitzgerald was elected. When Mr Fitzgerald's term of office closed, Mr. Moorhouse appeared as a candidate. In his speech to the electors he stated that he approved of the previous provincial legislation except that he considered the Council had in many respects exceeded the limits of its constitutional power. He had, he said, made up his mind that the price of land should not be reduced further; £2 per acre being sufficiently low to promote settlement. He urged the immediate prosecution of public works, but deprecated any idea of special taxation, as the land revenue was so large. The other candidate was Mr. Joseph Brittan, an able speaker, one of the first colonists, and a man thoroughly familiar with all the details of colonial and provincial politics. He had been Provincial Secretary, and had acted as Deputy Administrator during Mr. Godley's absence in Auckland. The struggle was very keen; but Mr. Moorhouse, though a poor speaker, was an admirable canvasser, and he was elected by a majority of 375 out of a voting total of 1079. From the hour of his election Mr. Moorhouse bent all his great energy and force of character to the task of extending the public works system of the province, and more especially to the construction of the Lyttelton Tunnel. As he put it himself, he had “all the talent and all the respectability against him,” but he had his way. He was not the first to suggest the possibility of the tunnel; but no one else seems to have believed that the time was ripe for the accomplishment of the work. In 1857, when he took office, the tunnel was still in the dim and distant future; by 1861 the work of construction was fairly started. Nothing but the untiring zeal and the unflinching courage of the Superintendent had made this possible. In the words of Gisborne, “he showed ability, enterprise, foresight, courage, and perseverance, in working a great idea into a great fact.” It was his greatest work, and on it his reputation may be fitly founded. Yet he was wanting in method and in patience; and he seldom found it easy to work with either colleagues or subordinates. In 1861 he was reelected without opposition; but by 1863 a strong opposition to his personal authority had been created, largely through the exertions of the Christchurch “Press,” and in that year he resigned. In his farewell speech to the electors, Mr. Moorhouse, after a generous appreciation of his rival, Mr. Fitzgerald, touched on a question which was for some years much discussed in South Island political circles—the possibility of separation from the North Island. The bitter and desolating Maori wars and the waste of money contributed by the South Island to repair the mistakes and follies of the North, had roused strong local jealousies. Associated with this question was the kindred problem: Where should the seat of Government for the colony be located? In the long and desperate struggle between Auckland and Wellington, the Canterbury members almost invariably sided with the southern province, and it was mainly through the aid of Canterbury that Wellington finally won the day. The position of Auckland made it obviously unfit for the seat of a central authority, which was supposed to guard equally the interests of both islands. In 1863 the “Press” urged that the seat of Government should be transferred to Christchurch, but the report of the Commission appointed to choose a site for the new capital in 1864, decided the difficulty in favour of Wellington. In 1865 a suggestion was made in the House that Christchurch should be the scene of the next session; in 1871 Mr. Reader Wood moved, that Parliament should hold successive sessions in the various provincial capitals in rotation, starting with Dunedin. So late as 1887, Mr. R. M. Taylor, M.H.R., for Sydenham, ventured to move that the next session of the Assembly should be held in Christchurch. The fact that this controversy so long survived the dissolution of the provinces, may suggest the intensity of feeling with which the question was debated in 1863.
During the administration of Mr. Moorhouse, between 1858 and 1862, the following well-known names figure on the roll of the Provincial Council: Alport, Bishop, Blakiston, Bowen, Cass, Cookson, Duncan, Hall, Higgins, Ollivier, Packer, Rhodes, Studholme, White, Harman, Templer, Ward, Potts, Latter, Wilkin, Westenra, Maude, Hargreaves, Peacock, Tosswill, Shand, Clark, Lance, Beswick, Buckley, Turnbull, Hornbrook, and Hawkes.
Mr. Moorhouse was succeeded by Mr. S. Bealey. In nominating this candidate Mr. John Ollivier, one of the most prominent figures in the history of Canterbury provincial politics, observed that Mr. Bealey might be regarded by some electors as a mere student and bookworm. It was rather an unfortunate admission. Captain Westenra more aptly described Mr. Bealey as a scholar and a gentleman, enjoying a large income, which he spent mostly in the province. Mr. Bealey's advent was accepted as a happy solution of the diffrences between the Moorhouse party and their opponents — differences which had now reached an acute stage. Mr. Bealey promised to carry out Mr. Moorhouse's public works policy, and fulfilled his duties with good sense and ability. During his term of office part of the harbour works at Lyttelton were constructed. One of the few distinct departures noticeable in his administration was an attempt to deal with the difficult problem of denommational education. At the Jubilee celebrations (December, 1900,) Sir John Hall recalled with admiration the excellent business qualities, shrewd common-sense, and cool head which enabled Mr. Bealey to grapple successfully with the difficulties of his position; notably on the occasion of the influx of miners to the West Coast, which was still a portion of Canterbury. But it was felt page 35 that Mr. Bealey's tenure of office was merely an interregnum. In 1866 he resignel, and was congratulated by the “Lyttelton Times” on the appropriateness of his retirement.
Mr. Bealey was assisted in the government of the province by the following members of the Provincial Council: Messrs Beswick, Buckley, Clark, Cox, Hawkes, Haylock, Hornbrook, Lance, Maude, Moorhouse, Peacock, Stoddart, Turnbull, Ross, Shand, Templar, Tosswill, Westenra, Wilkin, Birch, Duncan, Fyfe, Ollivier, Aschmann, Aynesley, Bowen, Rolleston, Tancred, Hall, Macpherson, Dixon, Cowlishaw, Jollie, Prosser, Hayhurst, W. Wilson and Sir J. C. Wilson.
Mr. Moorhouse again stood for election, and was once more successful. The opposition represented by the “Press” was very strong and bitter. Mr. Moorhouse was accused of insatiable vanity, and of a love of despotism, which made it impossible for him to recognise the claims and the merits of his colleagues. He was described as regarding the Council not as the representative of the people, but as the instrument of his own will. Many men were alarmed by the heavy expenditure in which the province was involved over the tunnel and other public works. Mr. J. D. Lance, the most dangerous opponent of Mr. Moorhouse, had a high reputation among the pastoralists and older colonists. Mr. Travers, the third candidate, displayed a most unusually high sense of personal dignity and honesty in publicly releasing from their pledges all electors who had promised to support him. In the end Mr. Moorhouse's personal energy, and his fame as the promoter of the tunnel carried all before him. He received 1479 votes out of a total 2397, Mr. Lance getting 742, and Mr. Travers 176. This victory represents the climax of Mr. Moorhouse's political ascendency. In 1867 the tunnel, the great object of his life, was completed; and in the same year the southern line to Dunedin was begun. He felt that he had done his best work, and when further difficulties with his Council arose, he retired again into private life in 1868. He was elected member for Christchurch in the General Assembly, but resigned to become Registrar-General of Lands in 1870. In 1876 he was again returned for Christchurch, and in 1879 for Ashley. He died in 1881, without fulfilling on a wider stage the great promise of his provincial career; but he was the forerunner of Sir Julius Vogel in his immigration and public works policy, and his energy and zeal enabled Canterbury to lead the way in these respects for the rest of New Zealand.
Mr. Rolleston was the next and last Superintendent of Canterbury. He had come to the colony in 1858, and in 1865 had been Under-Secretary for Native Affairs in the Weld Ministry. He had also been Provincial Treasurer, and in all his public duties had displayed great industry and capacity. He was welcomed by many who believed that his natural caution and steadiness would counteract the ultra-progressive policy inaugurated by Mr. Moorhouse. He held office from 1868 to 1876, when the provincial governments were abolished. Mr. Rolleston was for many years an active member of the House of Representatives for various Canterbury constituencies. In 1894 he was defeated while leader of the Opposition in the contest for Riccarton: he was returned again in 1896, but was once more defeated by the narrowest conceivable majority in 1899. Mr. Rolleston has held office in various Ministries. He was member of the Hall Government in 1879–1882, and of the Whitaker-Atkinson Administration in 1882–1884. Mr. Rolleston, says Gishorne, “is intelligent, well educated, energetic, earnest and animated by the highest motives”; in fact, in the words of Sir John Hall, he combined the virtues of all his predecessors in the office of Superintendent. During his tenure of office he gave great attention to the land system of the Province; among other matters he began the village settlement experiment, afterwards largely extended by Mr. Ballance and Mr. (afterwards Sir) John McKenzie. But Canterbury owes most to him as an earnest advocate of the claims of education, and a farsighted guardian of its highest interests. Politically, he has always been classed as a leading Conservative, but through many years his views have undergone that broadening process which is inevitable in a country in which democratic conditions of life prevail and Radical legislation enjoys full scope.
The most prominent members of the Provincial Council during Mr Rolleston's term of office were: Messrs Garrick, Hawkes, Aynesley, Hargreaves, Fyfe, Wyld, Dixon, Delamain, Duncan, Stewart, Montgomery, Knight, Tancred, Hornbrook, Potts, Rhodes, Lee, Maskell, Mallock, Moore, Jollie, Peter, Ormsby, Matson, Kennaway, Inglis, Webb, Studholme, Sheath, Brett, Walker, Higgins, Cowlishaw, Sawtell, Tosswill, Perry, Richardson, Fisher, Joynt, Peacock, Maude, Hayhurst, Turnbull, Harper, Bluett, Macdonald, Pilliet, and Teschemaker. These lists of members of the Provincial Council are not meant to be exhaustive. They are introduced merely to remind the men and women of the present how many men of rare and tried ability presided over the destinies of the province in its youthful days. Almost every man who attained particular prominence in political, professional, or civic life was at some time or other a member of the provincial assemblies. It is especially noted that certain names constantly recur throughout the whole period of Canterbury's provincial administration; and this long and continuous acquaintance of public men with the active life and the political necessities of the growing community, goes far to explain the exceptional success which attended the system of provincial government in Canterbury.
Attention has been called incidentally to some of the most important public questions round which political strife centred under the Provincial system. The question of “cheap” land—Sir George Grey's theories against Wakefield's—engrossed public attention and roused bitter feeling during the first years of Canterbury's existence. After that matter had been definitely settled by the first Provincial Council, the public works policy of the successive councils and superintendents absorbed general interest. The tunnel, and the wholesale road and railway schemes of Mr. Moorhouse inspired as much enthusiasm on one side and apprehension on the other as the great Public Works scheme of Sir Julius Vogel. The burning question of Denominational Education more than once almost brought about a crisis in the political history of the Province. But the fiercest political excitement of the old provincial days was engendered by local jealousies or by the desire to promote local interests. The Maori wars, with their ceaseless expenditure, were a sore trial of the South Island provinces, which did not feel the danger and could see little but the expense to which the country was put. In Canterbury the objection to Auckland page 36 as the seat of Government was strongly held; it has been already observed that at one critical moment in the colony's history, the urgency of the war difficulty had almost driven the South Island to take constitutional measures to protect itself by separation. In 1868 a Constitutional Reform Association was founded in Christchurch, of which the chief object was “to return members pledged to vote against the expenditure of public moneys for the subjugation of the native race.” In the last resort the Association intended to organise a petition for the separation of the two islands. The names of the original members—William Wilson, George Gould, R. H. Rhodes, W. Reeves, W. Montgomery, Wynn-Williams, R. J. S. Harman, and many others honoured in the roll of Canterbury's pioneers—show how deeply this idea had taken root in the minds of the colonists. Happily the necessity for such a step soon passed away. But no public questions have ever so profoundly impressed the public mind in New Zealand as those which caused these old and half forgotten provincial controversies.
The elections at which the Superintendents and the members of the Provincial Council were chosen were, in those days, incidents of supreme interest and importance. No Minister nowadays approaches the Superintendents of the Provinces in social and official dignity and authority. In addition to the real importance of the office, its value was exaggerated by the intense provincial feeling which magnified local and temporary interests to a gigantic scale. Besides the distinction attached to a seat in the Provincial Chamber, there was for the candidates the knowledge that their presence in the Council would materially influence the progress of the districts they represented. On the whole, there was far less log-rolling in the provincial governments than might have been anticipated; but the possibility of benefit to the constituency was inseparable from such a contest, and it certainly added intensity and earnestness to the struggle. In the old days there were no Corrupt Practices Acts affecting the conduct of elections; and as an old Canterbury settler words it in his reminiscences, “full scope could be given to the most exorbitant fancy.” Hotels were mostly open houses on election day; and the excitement as the hour for the declaration of the poll approached often ran very high. But it is held by most of those who remember and took part in Canterbury elections under the Provincial system, that within the limits of the province, the strong feelings roused seldom degenerated into such rancour and bitterness as have characterised such contests under the later regime.
One important excuse for the enthusiasm at these elections was the magnitude of the work which the councils had to perform. It has been observed that the Constitution Act left many loopholes for the interference of the Councils in matters of general colonial importance; and of these opportunities many of the Councils frequently availed themselves. But by far their best and most lasting work was done within their own provincial boundaries. In Canterbury especially the country was rapidly opened by roads and railways, and the amount and character of the work done can be truly termed wonderful, considering the small population of the province. Between 1854 and 1868 the work was carried on continuously; and the large land revenue derived from the sale of land at £2 per acre supplied most of the necessary funds. The work was mostly conducted by Mr. T. Cass, head of the Survey Department, and Mr. E. Dobson, Engineer-in-Chief. Between 1854 and 1868 the Provincial Government spent on roads, railways and surveys £1,864,565. It must be remembered that till 1868 Westland was a portion of Canterbury; and one of the many pleasant features of the Old Colonists' Gathering at the Jubilee in December, 1900, was the kindly message from the old “West Coasters,” recalling the days before the separation. Nearly £150,000 were spent on surveys in Canterbury, and over £31,000 in Westland. Railways and harbour works for Canterbury cost nearly £700,000. “Ordinary” public works—roads, bridges and drainage—absorbed £400,000 for Canterbury, and £221,000 for Westland. Public buildings in the eastern province cost £86,000, and in the western half, £36,000. The telegraph system in Canterbury, to 1868, cost about £15,000, and in Westland about £20,000. Over £10,000 was spent in geological surveys; and about £170,000 went in grants to the road boards and municipalities of the province. By 1864 the Great North Road had been opened from Christchurch to the Hurunui—fifty-six miles— at a cost of £45,000. The Hokittka Road over Arthurs Pass was completed in 1866. This work was a great engineering triumph; running through very rough country along precipitous river beds and over a lofty mountain range, and its 149 miles cost £150,000. The Lyttelton Tunnel line, the Selwyn line, the Summer Road, the South Road (138 miles to Waitaki), the Governor's Bay Road, the Hokitika-Greymouth Road, the draining of the Rangiora, Papanui, and Halswell swamps—such were some of the works accomplished by the Provincial Governments of those early years—a record which no young community of the same size has ever surpassed within so limited a time. The year 1868 marks a temporary cessation in the activity which had characterised the public works policy of Canterbury. Mr. Rolleston came into power as representing the party which had become alarmed at Mr. Moorhouse's bold and ingenious projects, and his audacious financial theories; and under the new ruler the province advanced with slower and more cautious step. But to Mr. Rolleston, above all Canterbury superintendents, belongs the great credit of inaugurating and developing the system of education—both primary and secondary—which has done even more than material advantages for the progress and prosperity of the colony.
Apart from these achievements, there can be no doubt that the provincial system was of great value to the young and growing colony. It encouraged strong personal interest in all local affairs, and afforded room for practical experience in political and public life, while ensuring careful attention to local necessities. But the very indefinite relations of the central and the provincial governments were sure in time to cause trouble. Mr. Godley himself, who believed strongly in provincialism as a stage of development through which the young colony ought to pass, once expressed his fears that “the province would wish to retain for an indefinite time larger powers than will ultimately be consistent with the utmost development of the national greatness and prosperity of New Zealand.” His apprehensions were by no means groundless; but a more serious danger to the provincial system arose from the vague conditions under which the local and general finances were organised. Sir John Hall has publicly attributed the destruction page 37 of the provincial system to “that unfortunate provision in the Constitution Act which enacted that the general and the provincial governments should both dip into one purse.” Under such circumstances dissensions were inevitable. The Hon. W. P. Reeves in his “Long White Cloud” does not hesitate to trace the dissolution of the provinces to the jealousy aroused in the North Island, by the splendid success of the Otago and Canterbury land systems. In the early seventies, Canterbury passed through a land boom of a very acute kind. When it became known that farmers who had paid £2 an acre for their land some times made £5 an acre out of their wheat for the first year, Wakefield's “sufficient price” was far too small to hinder speculation. The land revenue of Canterbury rose to over half a million; the country road boards literally did not know what to do with their money. “The southern land revenue thus swollen was a glittering temptation to the politicians at Wellington.” Mr. Reeves also points to the fact that the southern provinces had already made an enemy of the one statesman able at that time to work them serious injury. In 1870 Sir Julius Vogel had advised that the country should borrow £10,000,000 for public works, and that repayment should be made out of a Crown estate, created from the provincial lands through which the railways might pass. The provinces refused; and Vogel, taking advantage of the old controversy between provincials and centralists, appealed to the party that had always desired the overthrow of the old system. As a matter of fact the provincial system was not in the general sense of the term popular. The pastoral tenants resented the highly democratic tone now introduced into the provincial assemblies. Newcomers from older countries were astonished that half a million settlers should require nine separate governments; and strangers ridiculed the grave and cumbersome assumption of parliamentary dignity, that characterised these august bodies. Sir George Grey threw all his splendid talents and his moving eloquence into the struggle on the side of the provinces; and Sir Harry Atkinson led the party of the Abolitionists. In the end the Centralists won the day. As a matter of fact, provincial government had outlived its purpose. It had fostered local interests, developed local resources, and given the colonists a practical experience in the work of government that prepared them for work upon a broader stage. One unmistakable tribute to its virtues is the tendency to assimilate the present method of local government to the old system by combining the smaller local bodies into larger executive assemblies. But the time had come for concentration and consolidation in a sense quite impossible to a country distracted by provincial jealousies, and crippled by the diversion of its most valuable resources to purely local needs.
Yet even the Abolitionists admitted that Canterbury was hardly treated by the loss of its provincial status. Canterbury handed over to the Central Government more than £200,000 from the Provincial Treasury, and in 1877 about one million pounds went to the general funds from the sale of Canterbury lands. But the question of liabilities was even more painful to Canterbury than that of assets. At the time of the abolition of the provinces, Auckland and Otago owed about £1,000,000 each, Wellington over £500,000, and Canterbury owed only £70. Canterbury was thus placed in the position of being compelled to pay interest on her neighbours' huge debts while contributing far more than any other province to the general funds. But not even this disadvantage has been sufficient to seriously embarrass the province or to check its marvellous development.
Mr. James Edward Fitzgerald, C.M.G., the first Superintendent of the Province of Canterbury, was elected to that position after the promulgation of the Constitution Act, in January, 1853, and held office up to 1857. He arrived at Lyttelton, by the ship “Charlotte Jane,” one of the first four ships, in December, 1850, and brought out with him the plant for the “Lyttelton Times,” which he edited for two years. Subsequently he established the “Press” newspaper, and edited it for some time. Mr. Fitzgerald sat in the first Parliament of New Zealand, and was for some time a member of the Executive Council, without portfolio. On retiring from Parliament in 1866, he was appointed to the office of Controller, and also, soon afterwards, to the Auditor-Generalship. Mr. Fitzgerald died at Wellington on the 2nd of August, 1896. Further particulars of his colonial career are given at page 119 of the Wellington volume of this Cyclopædia.
Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald.
Mr. William Sefton Moorhouse, the second Superintendent of Canterbury, succeeded Mr. Fitzgerald in 1857, was reelected in 1861, and resigned in the following year. He was again elected to the Superintendency, in 1866, when he defeated two other candidates. Mr. Moorhouse was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1825, and educated for the law. After the completion of his legal training he left England, in 1851, for Canterbury, New Zealand, where he intended practising his profession. He was, however, smitten with the gold fever, then raging in Australia, and left New Zealand for Victoria, but returned to Canterbury at the end of 1853, Mr. Moorhouse became a member of the Provincial Council, and he also represented the City of Christchurch in the General Assembly. He was again returned as a member for Christchurch in 1876, and three years later for the district of Ashley, which he represented up to the time of his death. As a politician he was recognised as one of the foremost page 38 men of the day, and as a man of enterprise and persistency he did valuable work for Canterbury. [gap — reason: illegible]His clear foresight and strength of character were exhibited in his conception and completion of the tunnel connecting Christchurch with the Port of Lyttelton. Though branded as a madman at the outset, Mr. Moorhouse had the courage of his opinions, fought the opponents of his great scheme, and emerged from the conflict triumphant. He turned the first sod of the Christchurch and Lyttelton railway in July, 1861. Never failing to recognise the wisdom of dealing in a large way with large questions. Mr. Moorhouse regarded himself not as exclusively representing a section of the people, but faithfully and persistently strove to do justice to all. The foundation of Canterbury Museum, while he was Superintendent, was, in a large measure, due to him. In recognition of his faith in the future of Canterbury, and of the great works he undertook and completed, his admirers erected a statue to his memory at the entrance to the Park Gardens, Christchurch. Mr. Moorhouse died in 1881, at Wellington, New Zealand.
Mr. W. S. Moorhouse.
Mr. Samuel Bealey, B.A., who succeeded Mr. Moorhouse in 1863 as Superintendent of the Province of Canterbury, was born in Lancashire, England, in 1821. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took his degree in 1851, and in the same year he sailed for Canterbury, New Zealand. In conjunction with the late Mr. John Bealey he purchased 1000 acres of land in the new settlement, and erected small dwelling houses in Christchurch, then a mere village. After the passing of the New Zealand Constitution Act the elections for the Provincial Council took place, and Mr. Samuel Bealey, Mr. Thomas Caas, the Chief Surveyor of Canterbury, and Mr. Richard Packer, were elected for Christchurch, which Mr. Bealey continued to represent until his election to the Superintendency. The harbour works at Port Lyttelton were prominent amongst the public works of Mr Bealey's time, and to these he devoted considerable attention. An able report, drawn up by a commission of engineers and masters of vessels, recommended the formation of a breakwater, and Mr. Bealey strongly supported this effective method of protecting the shipping. A considerable extension of the southern railway was also undertaken during Mr Bealey's Superintendency. On the completion of his term of office, Mr Bealey retired into private life. For the purpose of educating his family he returned to England, where he still (1902) resides.
Mr. S. Bealey.
The Hon. William Rolleston, the fourth and last Superintendent of Canterbury, is a politician of years and of Cabinet status, just as he is a farmer with large practical colonial experience, and a scholar who achieved honours at his University. In Provincial and General Government administration he has done his country good service. His father was the late Rev. George Rolleston, M.A., who was vicar of Maltby, in Yorkshire, for upwards of fifty years, and his brother, the late Dr. George Rolleston, M.D., F.R.S., was well known as Professor of Physiology in Oxford University, and as the author of “Forms of Animal Life” and other scientific works. Mr. William Rolleston was born on the 19th of September, 1831, and was educated at Rossal School, Lancashire, and afterwards at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he became a Foundation Scholar, and graduated with honours in the Classical Tripos in 1855. He arrived at Lyttelton by the ship “Regina,” on the 15th of November, 1858. Mr. Rolleston took up a run near Lake Coleridge, and to him many of the neighbouring mountains and streams owe their names. In 1863 he was appointed a member of the Education Commission, of which Mr. Tancred was chairman, and as such he assisted to frame the educational system of the Province of Canterbury. He afterwards became a member of the Canterbury Board of Education. Mr. Rolleston became Provincial Secretary in 1863, and was pressed but declined to contest the Superintendency when it was rendered vacant by Mr. Bealey's retirement. He then became Native Secretary and Inspector of Native Schools; he held these offices till 1868, and actively promoted the system of native village schools. On the resignation of Mr. Moorhouse, in 1863, Mr. Rolleston succeeded him as Superintendent of the Province. After a contest with Mr. Moorhouse, in 1870, he was again elected, and was re-elected for a third time in 1874, after which he held the office till the abolition of the Provinces in 1876. Mr. Rolleston will long be remembered for his steady advocacy of a national system of education. In a characteristic message to the Provincial Council in 1875, he said: “Our best policy would be, I believe, to make education free in all Government schools; and such a result is, I think, but a corollary upon the adoption of any responsibility by the State in the matter of education.” The system of free education was adopted by the colony in 1877. On the abolition of the provinces, the people of Canterbury showed their high appreciation of Mr Rolleston's services by a presentation of handsome plate, and through the words used by Sir John Hall on the occasion. In 1868 Mr. Rolleston became a member of the General Assembly for the Avon district, which he represented till 1884, when he became member for Geraldine. He held the portfolios of Lands, Education, Mines, and Immigration from 1879 to 1884, and it was in the Land Act brought in by him that the Legislature first gave expression to the principle of the perpetual lease. Mr. Rolleston continued a member of the House till 1893, and was unanimously elected leader of the Opposition in 1891. From 1896 to 1899 the represented the Riccartion constituency. To his efforts is due the establishment of the Deaf and Dumb Institution at Sumner, the first institution of its kind in the colony. The Christchurch Museum, Hospital, the Lunatic Asylum, and gaol, the Supreme Court, the Girls' High School, and, indeed, all the principal educational buildings in Christchurch, were erected during his days of political initiative and administration. Mr. Rolleston resides on his property at Kapunatiki, near Clandeboyde, in the Temuka district.
Standish and Preece, photo.
Hon, W. Rolleston.