The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
Mr. William Wilcox Tanner
Mr. William Wilcox Tanner, J.P., Member of the House of Representatives for the Avon district, hails from Northamptonshire, having been born in Moulton in 1851. He was educated at one of the old Church of England penny denominational schools in his native town, was apprenticed to the bootmaker's trade, and worked at his trade in England until leaving for New Zealand. He arrived in Lyttelton in the ship “Waitara” in 1879, and continued to work at his trade till 1892. Mr. Tanner has always been ready to assist working men's movements, and has been identified with trades' unions, co-operative societies, literary and debating classes. In the labour movement of 1890 he was secretary to the bootmakers' union of Christchurch, and at the general election in that year he was invited to become a candidate for the constituency of Heathcote, and was successful. Later on, in 1893, 1896, and 1899, he was returned for the district of Avon. Mr. Tanner is one of the Labour members of the House, and was referred to in 1890 as “the first Labour candidate.” He was for several years a member of the Woolston Municipal Council. In 1877 he married a daughter of Mr. J. Browett, of London, who claims descent on her mother's side from the poet Dryden, and has one son.