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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Mr. George Graham

Mr. George Graham, sometime a Member of the House of Representatives, has for a number of years resided at 42 Tisbury Row, Hove, Brighton, England. He was born at Windsor, England, on the 10th of December, 1812, and at the age of nineteen he received an appointment as clerk of works to the Board of Ordnance, now known as the Royal Engineers. Mr. Graham was sent to Ireland, where he distinguished himself, and was selected to be sent to Australia in 1836. In 1840 he came on with the staff of Governor Hobson to New Zealand, and was present at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the hoisting of the flag of Great Britain in New Zealand. Mr. Graham has always been a warm friend of and sympathiser with the Maori race, and was opposed to the Maori war and to the policy which involved the confiscation of their land. He always advocated treating them as British subjects and employing them on reproductive works in opening up their lands for bona fide settlement, and condemned the rapacious land sharking policy, which he considers has been the root of the land monopoly in the Colonies. The old barrack-wall and stone buildings in Albert Park, Auckland, were built by Maori labour under the supervision of Mr. Graham's department, and when that work was near completion he advocated employing the tribes in cutting canals to connect Waikato, Manukau and Kaipara with the city of Auckland, as in that way the labour of the Maoris would have been utilised, and they themselves kept out of mischief and discontent. The leading chiefs entertained a great esteem for Mr. Graham, and it was his influence which eventually succeeded in bringing in Wiremu Tamehana to Waharoa (the William Wallace of New Zealand, and the warrior chief of the Kingites). Mr. Graham went alone through the armed tribes across Maungakawa to Matamata, and brought Tamehana in to surrender his taiaha to General Carey at Te Rewarewa and Omahere, Waikato, and sign a peace bond, that for the future the laws of the Queen should be the laws for the King and Maori race in New Zealand. This ended the Waikato war, and led to the British troops being withdrawn and the self-reliant policy taking its stand in the Colony; and to the opening of mixed courts for Europeans and Maoris to settle amicably all disputes about land held under Maori custom. Mr. Graham represented the Newton constituency of Auckland suburbs for many years in the House of Representatives, and advocated liberal measures and the encouragement of the bona fide settlement of the lands by settlers who would look upon the founding of homesteads for their families as the great object of their coming to New Zealand. He still maintains that the pastoral and agricultural interests in New Zealand are not being attended to as they should, as the base of New Zealand's pre-eminence in the future as a Colony for British people; the tendency being to concentrate all attractions in the cities to the disadvantage of settlement in the country districts. Although residing himself in England Mr. Graham's family are settled in New Zealand; Mr. G. S. Graham, of Auckland, and Mr. William A. Graham, of Hamilton, Waikato, being the eldest now living. Before coming to Australia, Mr. Graham took part in the China war and the expedition to Pekin, and at the end of the war was invalided and received his pension. The climate of New Zealand, however, completely restored his health, although the doctors at the time of his illness considered his case to be hopeless.

Mr. G. Graham.

Mr. G. Graham.