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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Mr. Edward George Wright

Mr. Edward George Wright, Chairman of the Lyttelton Harbour Board, is the oldest member of that body. He was first elected in 1877, as a representative for the City of Christchurch, and after serving in that capacity for four years he was returned to the Board as a member for Ashburton. Though since 1858, the date of his landing in New Zealand, Mr. Wright has been almost continuously engaged in extensive and responsible undertakings, he has nevertheless devoted considerable time and attention to
Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. E. G. Wright.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. E. G. Wright.

colonial politics. In 1879 he was elected to the House of Representatives, as member for Coleridge, the largest electoral division in the colony at that date, and continued to represent it till 1883, when, upon the adjustment of the electorates, he was returned to Parliament as member for Ashburton, but resigned in 1884. He was again elected to represent Ashburton in 1891 and in 1897. At the time of the election of 1897 Mr. Wright's ill health prevented his addressing his constituents, yet, though he never once appeared on the platform oil that occasion, he was returned to Parliament by a considerable majority—a fact which showed the high estimation in which he was held by the electors. Mr. Wright's voice is now no longer heard in Parliament, but the results of his political services are still felt to advantage in his various electorates, which appreciate what he has done for them. Mr. Wright was born in June, 1831, at Woolwich, England. Educated at private schools, and trained as a civil engineer in the service of Messrs Fox, Henderson and Co., he was entrusted in 1853 with the construction of the gas works in the city of Rome, and was subsequently engaged upon various works in H.M. Dockyards, at Woolwich Arsenal, at Aldershot, and elsewhere; but being seized with a desire to settle in New Zealand he left England in December, 1857, under engagement to the Wellington Provincial Government. The erection of the lighthouse on Pencarrow Head, Wellington, was his first undertaking in the colony, and on its completion Mr Wright was offered the post of provincial engineer for Wellington, by Dr. Featherston, the Superintendent of that province. He, however, refused the offer, and shortly after accepted an appointment as director of public works for Hawke's Bay. In 1862, he resigned his position in Hawke's Bay and removed to Canterbury, where for many years he was engaged in the construction of roads, railways, and harbour works, and formed the West Coast road. It
Inner Harbour, Port Lyttelton.

Inner Harbour, Port Lyttelton.

page 120 was in those early days, about 1861, that Mr. Wright was instrumental in forming the present Christchurch Gas Company, of which he has been chairman for twenty-six years. In 1877 he purchased a large block of land in the county of Ashburton, and turned his attention to sheepfarming. Since then he has been intimately associated with the social life of his county, and also with many local governing bodies, amongst them the Ashburton County Council, of which he has been a member since 1877; he has also been for many years chairman of the Plantation Board of Canterbury, Mr. Wright was married in England, in 1854, and had, by his first marriage, a family of three sons, two of whom still live. Six years after his arrival in New Zealand his wife died, and in 1867 he was married to Miss Roberts, a Tasmanian lady, by whom he has three daughters and one son.