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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Mr. John Richard Randerson

Mr. John Richard Randerson, Chairman and Managing Director of the Cyclopedia Company, Limited, has long been well known throughout New Zealand. His father, the late Rev. John Randerson, Wesleyan minister, went as a missionary to Jamaica in the thirties, and after serving nine years returned to England, where he occupied important stations in several large towns and cities. In church management he took a prominent part, and for some time was chairman of the Lincoln district. The subject of this sketch was born in Worksop, Nottingham, on the 8th of September, 1846. Educated at Wharfedale College, Boston Spa, Yorkshire, he learned the trade of a cotton spinner and manufacturer, and at the age of twenty-one entered into business as a manufacturer at Stoneyholm Shed, Burnley, Lancashire. The disorganisation of trade effected by the American war made the venture unprofitable. Mr. Randerson therefore sold his plant, and in 1870 came out to New Zealand, per ship “Sydenham,” arriving in Auckland on the 2nd of August in that year, accompanied by his brother, Mr. W. H. Randerson, Home Missionary at Norsewood, Hawkes Bay. After about twelve months spent in agricultural pursuits at Cambridge, Waikato, where the brothers bought land, Mr. Randerson accepted a situation as accountant in Auckland. Shortly afterwards he removed to Coromandel, where he commenced business as accountant and licensed sharebroker, and subsequently became an auctioneer. For over five years he remained on this goldfield, during a considerable period of which he was secretary and valuator for the Coromandel Highway Board, agent for the Australian Mutual Provident Society and the National Insurance Company, and mining correspondent for the New Zealand Herald newspaper. In 1877, Mr. Randerson removed to Auckland, where he conducted a considerable business as a mining agent and sharebroker, land and estate agent, and auctioneer, till 1888. The New Zealand Mutual Creditors' Association, Limited, the first important organization established in New Zealand for the protection of the traders of the Colony, was founded by Mr. Randerson in 1886, and, as managing director, he conducted a large business throughout New Zealand, issuing a weekly newspaper—The Trade Protection Gazette—and annually publishing an [unclear: a]lmanac. In 1890, this business was amalgamated with that of Messrs. R. T. Wheeler and Co., of Dunedin, under the name of the Trade Auxiliary Company, Limited, of which Mr. Randerson became a director. Three years later he sold his interest in the Company, and after a few months decided to publish the Cyclopedia of New Zealand, for which purpose the Cyclopedia Company was incorporated. While resident in Auckland, Mr. Randerson served as a member of the Mt. Albert and Binkenhead Road Boards, of the latter of which he was at one time chairman. In church matters he is a Wesleyan Methodist, and has rendered valuable services to the cause as organist at Cambridge and Coromandel, as Sunday School teacher wherever he has resided; as superintendent of Pitt Street Sunday School, Auckland, for two years, and as a trastee of the Pousonby and Mt. Albert Wesleyan Church Trusts. At the celebration of the centenary of Sunday Schools, in Auckland, in 1880, the Rev. J. Bates and Mr. Randerson were joint secretaries. For some time, Mr. Randerson also occupied the office of secretary to the Auckland Sunday School Union. In 1889, he removed to Wellington, and eighteen months later to Christchurch, remaining five years. As president of the East Belt Young Men's Guild, a society which was promoted by Mr. Randerson, and as a vice-president of the Durham Street Wesleyan Mutual Improvement Society, he was ever ready to lend
Mr. John Richard Randerson

Photo by Mrs. Hermann.

his assistance. A total abstainer of nearly thirty years standing, Mr. Randerson has taken a great interest in temperance matters, having been a member of the Good Templar and Rechabite orders, in both of which he has occupied the chief chairs. In 1892 Mr. Randerson enjoyed a trip to England, and during his visit gave a number of lectures on “Maoriland: the Britain of the South,” of which the Agent-General printed 5000 copies. His last lecture in England was given the evening before sailing for the Colony per P. and O. steamer “Ballaarat,” at the Wardour Street Hall, London, under the auspices of the West London Mission. The London correspondent of the colonial press complimented the lecturer on his ability, remarking that he was “distinctly good.” In 1873, Mr. Randerson was married to Miss Garty, a granddaughter of the late Mr. Joseph Low, of the firm of Low and Motion, millers, Auckland, and has one daughter and two sons.