The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
Mr. John Roberts
Mr. John Roberts , C.M.G., who was Mayor of the city of Dunedin during the Exhibition year (1889–90), is the New Zealand resident-partner in the firm of Murray, Roberts and Co. He was born in Selkirk, Scotland, in 1845, and was educated in his native place, at the Cheltenham Grammar School, at the Queen Street Institution, Edinburgh, and at the Edinburgh Academy. On leaving school in 1862 he entered the woollen mill of his father's firm, Messrs George Roberts and Co., of Selkirk. Two years later Mr. Roberts arrived in Melbourne, where he was employed in station management and business in the firm of John Sanderson and Co. In 1868 he came to Dunedin. Mr. Roberts has long been prominently connected with the mercantile life of the colony generally, and especially with public companies in Dunedin. He is an original director, and has for many years past been chairman, of the New Zealand Refrigerating Company, Limited; and for two years he was a director of the Colonial Bank, from which he retired in 1891. He has always taken a keen interest in agricultural and pastoral matters, and was a leading promoter of the Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association of which he is a life governor. Mr. Roberts has served on the boards of management of many local public institutions, notably the Otago University committee, and as chairman of its finance committee, During the days of Provincial Governments, Mr. Roberts represented Kaikorai in the Otago Provincial Council. He was a member for Deep Stream riding in the Taieri County Council. His work in connection with the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition, As president, he succeeded, by ability and untiring zeal, in bringing the exhibition to a successful issue, and for his services in that respect, Her Majesty the Queen conferred upon him the Companionship of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, in 1891. In recognition also of his work, the ratepayers of the city of Dunedin elected him Mayor of the city in 1890 at an uncontested election. Mr. Roberts married, in 1870, a daughter of Mr. Charles Henry Kettle—who, as surveyor to the New Zeland Company, originally surveyed Dunedin—and has, surviving, four sons and four daughters.
Mr. J. Roberts.