The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
In so far as New Zealand is concerned, a foreign consul is an officer appointed by a foreign government to reside in this country, in order to give protection to such subjects of the government, or citizens of the state, by which he is appointed as may have commercial dealings here, and to keep his government informed concerning any matters relating to trade which may be of advantage for it to know. To these duties are sometimes added others with objects more directly political. In some cases consuls are subjects or citizens of the state by which they are appointed, but this is by no means an invariable rule. Persons are usually selected for the office from the mercantile class, and it commonly happens that they are engaged in commerce at the port where their official residence is fixed. For many years the late Mr. E. B. Cargill was consul in Dunedin for Italy and the Netherlands. The countries now represented by consuls in Dunedin are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United States of America.