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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Mr. John Williamson

Mr. John Williamson, who was five times elected Superintendent of the Province of Auckland, was almost continuously in prominent positions in connection with the province. Mr. Williamson was born in Newry. North of Ireland, in 1815, and learned the business of a printer. He arrived in Sydney in 1840, and came on to this Colony during the following year, and worked quietly at his profession until 1845, when he established the “New Zealander,” the first issue of which was published on the 7th of June of that year. In this venture he was subsequently joined by Mr. W. C. Wilson, the late father of the Messrs W. S. and J. L. Wilson, who, with Mr. A. G. Horton, are now the proprietors of the “New Zealand Herald.” Mr. Williamson's first public position was that of member of the first Provincial Council of Auckland, which met on the 18th of October, 1853, and in which he sat as the representative of the Pensioner Settlements. To this position he was elected on the 22nd of July, 1853, and on the 27th of October, 1855, he was elected, in conjunction with Mr. Joseph Greenwood, to represent the Pensioner Settlements in the House of Representatives. On the 15th of April, 1856, he was sworn in as a member of the second Parliament of the Colony, and he was returned to every succeeding Parliament until his death, which occurred on the 16th of February, 1875. From 1861, however, he sat as member for the city of Auckland West. Before his first election to the Superintendency, Mr. Williamson sat as a member of the Provincial Council during five sessions, and again during the nineteenth and twentieth sessions, when Sir Frederick Whitaker was Superintendent. During this time he was Waste Lands Commissioner, and at various times he held office under the General Government as Crown Lands Commissioner and Curator of Intestate Estates. He was an able politician, and few public men have had more devoted or more constant followers.