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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Mr. Thomas Outhwaite

Mr. Thomas Outhwaite, A native of Westmorland, England, left Paris, where he was practising his profession as a solicitor,
The Late Mr. T. Outhwaite.

The Late Mr. T. Outhwaite.

to come to New Zealand in 1841, and arrived in the “Tyne” with Chief Justice Sir William Martin, and the Hon. William Swainson, Attorney-General. Mr. Outhwaite was the first Registrar of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, and took office on the 1st of January, 1842. Early in the same year the first native tried for murder, Mukatu, was executed and his body buried within the precincts of the gaol, though afterwards removed and given over to his father. Shortly afterwards, while another Maori was under trial for a similar offence, a hundred natives came rushing up the them totally unformed street, shaking spears and brandishing tomahawks above their heads, to rescue their countryman from the clutches of the law. And they did rescue him, while the court sat petrified, unable to avert the lawless deed or arrest the doers, though they were but a handful of wild savages, and what they did was done in the very heart of the capital of the country. Such is a sample of the scenes through which Mr. Outhwaite passed in the early days of colonisation. In 1843 he, in company with Sir William Martin, and the late Hon. Henry St. Hill, M.L.C., returned to Auckland overland on foot from Wellington, whither they had journeyed in the Government brig “Victoria” (a three weeks' sea voyage), to hold a session of the court. The return trip overland occupied a period of six weeks. During his long public career Mr. Outhwaite held the office of Registrar of the Supreme Court, Registrar of the Vice-Admiralty, Clerk of the Crown, Registrar of Deeds, Taxing Officer, Receiver of Intestate Estates, Acting Attorney-General and Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. Some of these offices were unremunerated, and in those days the public funds were sometimes at so low an ebb that many of the offices under Government were held by gentlemen, who sought not their own emolument, but the good of the country. Among those was Mr. Outhwaite, who, in addition, to fulfilling his official duties, took an active interest in the various social and public institutions of Auckland. He was one of the first movers in the establishment of the Mechanics' Institute, of which he was for some time vice-president. Ever an encourager of art and passionately devoted to music, he was the principal founder of the Auckland Philharmonic, the first musical society in Auckland, and gave all the time he could spare as voluntary instructor to its members, and also in training church choirs in their turn. Mr Outhwaite retired from office in June, 1869, and died on the 14th of July, 1879—a pioneer colonist, universally esteemed and lamented by his fellow-colonists.