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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Hon. Thomas William Hislop

The Hon. Thomas William Hislop was born on the 8th of April, 1850, at Kirknewton, Midlothian, and is a son of Mr. John Hislop, LL.D., Edin., and F.R.S., Edin., who was the first secretary for Education in New Zealand, and took an active part in the inauguration of the splendid educational system which is page 83 enjoyed in is Colony, for, though his bill was defeated in 1871, it was on this that the present Act was founded. Mr. Hislop left his native land with his parents in 1856, arriving in Port Chalmers per ship “Strathmore,” and settling in East Taieri. It may be remarked that the ship “Strathmore” brought out on this occasion Major (afterwards Sir John) Richardson, who was afterwards superintendent of Otago, subsequently Postmaster-General, and later still Speaker of the Legislative Council for many years, and also Mr. Howorth, who became Crown prosecutor for Dunedin. The Hon. Mr. Hislop was educated by his father until he was about twelve years old, after which he attended Mr. Shaw's Grammar School, and later the Dunedin High School, subsequently going to the Dunedin University. He chose the law as a profession, and was articled to Mr. B. C. Haggitt, Crown prosecutor, and for many years Provincial solicitor
The Hon. Thomas William Hislop

Photo by Wrigglesworth and Binns.

for Otago. Completing his articles, he was admitted a barrister and solicitor in 1871, and commenced to practice the same year in Oamaru, residing there till 1890. He entered Parliament at the beginning of 1876, and sat in the first Parliament after the abolition of the provinces, for the district of Waitaki, which included Oamaru. He was re-elected in 1879 for the same constituency, but resigned his position in the House for private reasons in the following year. In 1885 he was re-elected for Oamaru, a part of his old constituency, and again two years later. He entered the Ministry as Colonial Secretary in October, 1887, and was afterwards minister for Education, He continued a member of the ministry until the Atkinson Government vacated office in January, 1891. Mr. Hislop contested the Oamaru seat at the end of 1890, and was defeated, since which time he has not sought re-election. During the hon. gentleman's Parliamentary career he drafted the Fair Rent Bill, which was introduced by the Atkinson Government, and passed through the Lower House. He also introduced labour bills, factory and shop hours, and employers liability bills, also building liens and the Truck Act, which, however, were thrown out. The Shipping and Seamens Act he was successful in passing. He also effected some useful legal reforms, and introduced the Representation Bill, a measure based on the Hare system, but this was withdrawn. The Hon. Mr. Hislop holds socialistic views, and is in favour of the Government doing everything possible to secure the production of wealth and its distribution in an orderly and fair manner, and considers that the same profitable results that have been attained in the administration of the post-office might be secured in other lines. He considers that during the transition period, public servants should be paid according to their abilities. He was appointed an officer of the Legion of Honour for services at the Paris Exhibition in 1889. He is a member of the Citizen's Institute, and takes a very great interest in the welfare of young men. He married Miss Annie Simpson, daughter of Mr. James Simpson, settler in New South Wales, and niece of the late Mr. Stewart Hawthorn, for some years rector of the Dunedin High School. His eldest son Walter is a medical student in Edinburgh.