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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Sir John Hall

Sir John Hall, K.C.M.G., occupied a seat in the Legislative Council from 1862 to 1866, and from 1872 to 1879. Born in Hull, Yorkshire, in 1824, he was educated in Germany, Switzerland, and Paris, and arrived at Lyttelton in 1852, in the “Samarang,” the last of the Canterbury Association's ships. He was a member of the Provincial Council, and, as a member of the Executive, was Provincial Secretary, and afterwards Secretary of Public Works. In 1856 he became Resident Magistrate for Lyttelton, also Sheriff and Commissioner of Police; and in 1858 he was Resident Magistrate for Christchurch. He was successively chairman of the Westhaud and Selwyn County Councils, and also of the first Christchurch Municipal Council. Elected to represent Christchurch in the House of Representatives in the latter part of 1855, he was appointed Colonial Secretary in the following year. Sir John Hall was nominated to the Legislative Council in 1862, but resigned his seat four years later, when he was returned as member for Heathcote, and became Postmaster-General and Commissioner of Telegraphs in the Stafford Ministry of 1865–1869. In 1872 he was again called to the Legislative Council, but resigned in 1879, when he was elected as member for the Selwyn district. As leader of the Opposition in that year he defeated Sir George Grey, and was Premier from October, 1879, till April, 1882. It was during that year that he received the distinction of knighthood. After nearly forty years of public life, Sir John finally retired from politics, in 1893. As a statesman he originated or promoted many far-reaching measures, and was an assiduous worker for the enfranchisement of women.