The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Although since the establishment of Responsible Government in the Colony, there have been twenty-six Ministries—excluding the Seddon Administration, which is now in Power—there have been only fourteen Premiers. Of these, eight held office only during the lives of single Ministries, three were twice called upon to occupy the position of Prime Minister, and the remaining three gentlemen held the office respectively during three, four, and five Governments. Sir Edward William Stafford, C.M.G., though occupying the Prime Minister's place in but three Cabinets, was in office for little short of nine years, the exact time being eight years, ten months, and twenty-one days. The Hon. Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, K.C.M.G., was the gentleman who became Premier five times, but the total period of office as such was but five years, three months, and twenty-six days. In point of time Sir William For came next, having held the reins as head of the Government of the Colony for four years, four months, and twenty-one days in all, during the continuance of the four Ministries in which he held this high office. The Hon. Sir Robert Stout, K.C.M.G., the Hon. Sir Julius Vogel, K.C.M.G., and the late Hon. Sir Frederick Whitaker were each Premier of the Colony twice, the total periods of office being respectively about three years and two months, two years and ten months, and two years and a-half. Of those who became Prime Minister on one occasion only, the Hon. Sir John Hall, K.C.M.G., held office for over two and a-half years, the late Hon. John Ballance for over two and a quarter years, and the Right Hon. Sir George Grey, K.C.B., P.C., for nearly two years. The other five gentlemen retained the Premiership for shorter periods.