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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Major the Hon. Sir Harry Albert Atkinson

Major the Hon. Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, K.C.M.G., M.L.C., was Speaker of the Legislative Council from the 23rd of January, 1891, till his death on the 28th of June, 1892. The honourable gentleman's career is referred to at length as a Past Premier of the Colony. His birthplace there stated as “Hurworth” should read “Cheshire,” the date of his arrival “1853” instead of “1831,” and the date of his election to Parliament “1861,” and not “1863.” On coming to New Zealand Major Atkinson was a fellow passenger of the late Mr. Justice Richmond. In 1863 his band of volunteers became known as the Taranaki Bushrangers, their work then being to scour the country round New Plymouth, especially the bush, and keep it clear from wandering and marauding parties of the Maoris who had infested the country and done great havoc in 1860-1861. On joining the Weld Ministry in 1864, the policy pursued was the well-known “self-reliant policy,” involving on the one hand the assumption by the Colony of the full control of native affairs, and on the other the withdrawal of the British troops. In the session of 1875 when Sir Harry was Colonial Treasurer an important change was made in the Constitution of the Colony by the abolition of Provincial Governments and Legislatures. During Sir Harry's last term of office as Premier of New Zealand (1887-1891) he did the last though not the least important of his services to New Zealand in inducing Parliament to adopt a policy of serious retrenchment and of living within its means.

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