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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Mr. George Hunter

Mr. George Hunter, who died on the 6th of August, 1880, was a native of Banffshire, Scotland, where he was born in 1821; at the age of nineteen, he came out with his father and mother in the New Zealand Shipping Company's third ship, the “Duke of Roxborough,” arriving in Wellington in January, 1840. His father started in business on Lambton Quay, in company with Mr. Kenneth Bethune, as general merchants, stock and station agents, etc. The subject of this notice on the death of his father and his partner, Mr. Bethune, became sole proprietor of the business, his father having been the first mayor of Wellington. In 1844 the firm removed its business to Old Custom House Street. Mr. Hunter was largely interested in station properties and was a large breeder of high-class stock, and was also the owner of the Island Bay Estate. He was appointed by Sir George Grey as one of the Legislative Council, and he continued to hold a seat until the inauguration of the Constitution Act in 1853. After that he retired to private life for some years, and then occupied a seat in the Provincial Council until its abolition. In the general election of 1870 he was returned to Parliament for the city, in conjunction with Colonel Pearce, beating the Hon. J. C. Richmond and Mr. W. T. L. Travers, and the same two were returned again in 1874. After the defeat of the Grey Ministry he offered himself again and suffered the first political defeat of his life. He was city councillor for the Cook Ward until a few weeks before his death. He had much to do with the inception of the Chamber of Commerce, the Gas Company, the Patent Slip Company, the Trust, Loan and Investment Company, the Wellington Club, and Choral Society, the Jockey Club, the New Zealand Times Company, and others. He was a man of a most kind and generous disposition, and his bountiful charity was remarkable.