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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]

Otago Members Of The Legislative Council

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Otago Members Of The Legislative Council.

The Legislative Council of New Zealand is at present composed of forty-two members. Before 1891 members summoned by the Governor were appointed for life. In 1891, an Act was passed authorising the Council to elect its own Speaker for five years, and making future appointments to the Council tenable for seven years only, though retiring councillors are eligible for reappointment. Otago (including Southland) has now ten members in the Legislative Council, as against nine Canterbury members, nine Auckland and Taranaki members, and four wellington members, and four Wellington members. The life members from Otago are Sir H. J. Miller (who was Speaker of the Council from the 8th of July, 1892, till June, 1903, when the Hon. W. C. Walker was elected as his successor), Mr. G. McLean, and Mr. H. K. Taiaroa. The other Otago members are: Mr. W. M. Bolt, appointed originally in 1892; Mr. H. Feldwick, appointed originally in 1899; Mr. G. Jones, appointed originally in 1895; Mr. D. Pinkerton, appointed originally in 1897; Mr. A. L. Smith, appointed originally in 1898; and Mr. A. Baldey, appointed in March, 1903. Messrs Feldwick and Baldey are noticed under Southland.

The Hon. Sir Henry John Miller,

Member of the Legislative Council, is the second son of the late Rev. Sir Thomas Miller, Bart, of Hampshire, England, and was born in 1830, at Froyle, Alton, Hants, and educated at Eton. At the age of thirty he arrived in Otago, from Sydney, by the “City of Sydney,” and since that time he has been actively intarested in pastoral pursuits, and latterly in the coal-mining industry. Sir Henry entered public life as a member of the Provincial Council of Otago, in which he represented Oamaru, and for about two years he held office in the Executive as Secretary for Public Works. He was nominated to the Legislative Council by the Weld Ministry, on the 8th of July, 1865, and he sat as a member of the Executive Council of the Fox-Vogel Government in 1872. On the 8th of July, 1892, Sir Henry was elected Speaker of the Legislative Council, in succession to Sir Harry Atkinson, and held the position till June, 1903. He was married, in 1864, to a daughter of the late Mr. John Orbell, of Waikouaiti, and has, surviving, five sons and one daughter.

The Hon. Hori Kerei Taiaroa was raised in 1879 to the Legislative Council, of which he was a member for a year, and he was re-called for life on the 15th of May, 1885. Previously he had been a member of the House of Representatives. He is the youngest son of the noted chieftain Taiaroa, of the Ngaitahu and Ngatimamoe tribes, who took a leading part in the defence of Kajapoi, immediately preceding its capture by Te Rauparaha in 1831. Mr. Taiaroa owns considerable property on the Otago Peninsula, and also at Taumutu, Canterbury. During his long years of service in both Houses of Parliament, Mr. Taiaroa has done much to advance the welfare of the country in the interest of his own race and the colonists. Mr. Taiaroa has six sons, surviving, and of these Mr. D. Taiaroa is well known as a footballer, and accompanied the New Zealand football team to England in 1889.

Wrigglesuorth and Binns, photo. Hon. H. K. Taiaroa.,

Wrigglesuorth and Binns, photo.
Hon. H. K. Taiaroa.,

The Hon. George McLean has been a member of the Legislative Council since the 19th of December, 1881. He was born at Elgin, Scotland, on the 10th of September, 1834, and is a son of Mr. James McLean and Jane Proctor his wife. In 1851 he arrived in Australia, and was engaged in the Colonial Bank of Australia, and afterwards in the Oriental Bank Corporation. Eleven years later he came to New Zealand, to fill the position of manager of the Dunedin branch of the Bank of New Zealand. Mr. McLean entered political life as a member of the Otago Provincial Council, in which he became Provincial Treasurer. He was elected to the House of Representatives as member for Waikouaiti in 1871, and for ten years he represented that electorate; and was a member of the Vogel and Atkinson Administrations, holding the portfolios of Commissioner of Customs, Postmaster-General and Commissioner of Telegraphs, and Commissioner of Trade. Mr. McLean has been largely identified with commerce and important colonial institutions. He was Chairman of Directors of the Colonial Bank of New Zealand, and has held a similar position in the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand since its inauguration. In 1867 Mr. McLean married a daughter of the late Hon Matthew Holmes, sometime of “Castle Rock,” Southland, “Awamoa,” near Oamaru, and latterly of Wellington, and has one son and five daughters.

Hon. G. McLean.

Hon. G. McLean.

The Hon. William Mouat Bolt , M.L.C., was born in 1838 at Lerwick, in the Shetland Isles, and was educated at the parish school of Sandness. During his early years he assisted his father, the village blacksmith, in the smithy, in the management of a small croft, and in fishing. In 1855 Mr. Bolt—then seventeen years of age—went to Liverpool, where he shipped on a vessel chartered by page 74 the Government for carrying troops to the Crimea. Mr. Bolt made two trips to Balaclava in this service, and subsequently passed about six years in voyages to New York, Melbourne, La Plata, Uruguay, Archangel, and the Faroe Isle, coming to New Zealand in the ship “Nelson” in 1863. Soon after settling in Dunedin, he was engaged by Messrs. Bing, Harris and Co. as storeman, and continued in the firm's service for nearly thirty years, when he was called by the Ballance Government to a seat in the Legislative Council. Shortly after his arrival in the colony he allied himself with the democratic party. He took a prominent part in the Freethought movement, acting as secretary of the first association. For years he held this position, alternately with that of vicepresident. Mr. Bolt was a member of the Dunedin Schools Committee for four years, part of which time he was chairman, and was at the same time actively engaged in connection with the first trades council, of which he became vice-president. In 1880 Mr. Bolt propounded a scheme of co-operative settlement—on which he has lectured in various parts of the Colony; and in his place in the Legislative Council, to which he was called in 1892, he introduced a series of resolution dealing with the subject, and these were endorsed by most of the labour associations in the Colony. Mr. Bolt has published essays on “The Social and Religious conditions of Europe a century ago,” “Land and Labour,” “Industrial Settlements,” and other subjects. His political ideal is the gradual advance of the people in their collective capacity; that is, by means of general industrial co-operation. Mr. Bolt's father died in New Zealand at the advanced age of ninety-three. Mr. Bolt was married in 1861 to a daughter of Captain F. Lawson, of Lerwick, and has, surviving, five sons and three daughters.

Hon. W. M. Bolt.

Hon. W. M. Bolt.

The Hon. George Jones , Member of the Legislative Council, who was called to the Council on the 13th of December, 1895, and rcappointed in December, 1902, was born in 1844 in the Hutt Valley. He was educated at Geelong, Victoria, and since the age of fourteen has been connected with the printing business, to which he served a portion of his apprenticeship in Geelong. After a time he was employed in the Government printing office, Brisbane, and subsequently on the “Bulletin,” Rockhampton, where he was admitted as a journeyman at the age of seventeen years. He arrived in Christchurch in 1863, and was successively employed on the “Standard,” “Lyttelton Times,” and “Press” newspapers; and in 1866 he entered into business with a partner under the style of Jones and Bent general printers, Cathedral Square. Mr. Bent retired shortly afterwards, and Mr. Tombs, afterwards of Whitcombe and Tombs, took his place, and the business was conducted for several years as that of Jones and Tombs. After a visit to England in connection with his eyesight, Mr. Jones opened a business in Wellesley Street, Auckland, where for two or three years he held the printing contract under the Provincial Government. In 1870 he founded the “Waikato Times” newspaper, and two years later the “Echo,” in Auckland, in opposition to the “Evening Star.” After a valiant fight extending over twelve months, he removed his plant to Dunedin and founded the “Evening News,” which was conducted for six months, in conjunction with Messrs Reed and Brett, in the interest of provincial institutions. This paper died prematurely, however. After twelve months' employment on the “Guardian,” a paper which was conducted by Messrs G. M. Reed and George Fenwick, Mr. Jones settled in Oamaru in 1877, and purchased the “Evening Mail,” which was re-named by him the “Oamaru Mail,” and is further referred to in another article under Oamaru. Mr. Jones first came into political prominence in 1877, when he wrote an article charging the Attorney General, the late Sir Frederick Whitaker, with bringing in and promoting a Native Land Bill, to afford facilities for the acquisition of land for himself and his friends. The article in question was demed to be a breach of privilege, and Mr. Jones was summoned to appear at the Bar of the House. On his appearance he declined to withdraw what he had written, and reiterated his statements. While Parliament was engaged in debating what penalty should be meted out to him, Mr. Jones himself was dispensing and attracting social gaiety, in the room of the Sergeant at Arms, Major Paul, who was showing him every consideration and kindness. During his walks about Wellington, while he was the “guest” of the House, Mr. Jones was accompanied by a stalwart member of the armed constabulary, who proved to be an old Waikato friend. The result of the deliberations in Parliament was a prosecution in the Law Courts, as it was found that the offender could be imprisoned within the precincts of the House during the sessional term only, and that was not considered sufficient punishment. After appearing before a Resident Magistrate at Wellington, Mr. Jones was committed for trial at the Supreme Court, Dunedin, where he was finally acquitted. To the Colony the result was a bill for legal expenses amounting to £2300; and to Mr. Jones the doubling of the circulation of his paper. Almost immediately afterwards he was returned to the House, as representative for Oamaru; but owing to ill-health, he had to resign in 1881, and was replaced by Mr. Thomas Young Duncan, who, after the death of Sir John McKenzie, became Minister of Lands and Agriculture in the Seddon Government. Mr. Jones is well-known as a musician of considerable ability, his instrument being the violin. At the age of twelve he made his debut as a violin soloist in the Geelong Town Hall, at a concert given for the benefit of the Ladies' Benevolent Society. In Brisbane he played first violin in connection with the local Musical Society. During his residence in Christchurch, he was a member of the original Christchurch Musical Society, of which Mr. Charles Bonnington was leader, and in Auckland he played first violin and viola in the Choral Society, in which Judge Fenton took a leading part. Mr. Jones was also leader of the Ponsonby Society, Auckland, of which the late Mr. John Mitchell was conductor. In Dunedin he took a leading part in the Choral Society, and was leading violinist of the Orchestral Society; and in Oamaru he was connected with the Oamaru Garrison Band for about fifteen years, during which it was successful in several competitions. Owing to ill-health Mr. Jones retired from the band in 1892, when he paid a visit to England. He was married in 1865 to Dorothy Tweedy, a daughter of the late Mr. Tweedy, of Sunderland, and has five sons and four daughters. Mr. Jones is one of the few newspaper men in New Zealand who are staunch prohibitionists.

Mahan, photo. Hon. G. Jones.

Mahan, photo.
Hon. G. Jones.

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The Hon. David Pinkerton landed in New Zealand from the ship “Lady Egidia,” in January, 1861. Mr. Pinkerton was born in Kirknewton, near Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1836, and was there educated under Dr. Hislop, afterwards Under-Secretary for Education in New Zealand. He is a bootmaker, and with the exception of a short time on the goldfields, has been engaged in that line of business, either as an employer or as a journeyman, since completing his apprenticeship. For many years past he has taken a keen interest in the labour question, and was actively engaged as president or treasurer of various unions till 1890. On the Otago Trades and Labour Council he occupied the position of president for a period of three years, and when his parliamentary engagements necessitated his resignation, a presentation consisting of a beautifully executed oil painting of himself was tendered, as a recognition of his ser vices in the cause of unionism. Mr. Pinkerton was first returned to the House of Representatives at the general election of 1890, with Messrs Hutchison and Fish, for the city of Dunedin. Three years later he was again returned for the same constituency, together with Messrs. Hutchison and Earnshaw. At the general election of 1896 Mr. Pinkerton was defeated, although he had faithfully suported the Labour and Liberal party in the House, and had occupied the position of chairman of the Labour Bills Committee for the previous three years. In February, 1897, however, he was called to a seat in the Legislative Council; in the short session of the early part of 1897, he moved the address-in-reply to the Governor's speech. During Mr. Pinkerton's residence in Dunedin, he has shown an intelligent interest in movements tending to further the general advancement of the city and Colony, and was a member of the committee of the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition of 1889–90. He is an old member of the order of Foresters, and at one time occupied the position of district chief ranger. Mr. Pinkerton was married in 1860 to Miss Margarel Fairely, of Kirknewton, and has three daughters, one of whom is the wife of Mr. D. H. Cameron, of the Hansard staff.

The Hon. Alfred Lee Smith , who was called to the Legislative Council on the 18th of June, 1898, is a native of Yorkshire, England. He was educated privately in the Old Country, and came out to New Zealand, in 1868, landing at Wellington. Since then he has been intimately connected with large manufacturing and commercial businesses, and is Chairman of Directors of Donaghy's Rope and Twine Company, Limited, Dunedin, and a director of the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand.

The Hon. Hugh Gourley was called to the Legislative Council on the 22nd of June, 1899. He has taken a very prominent part in public affairs in Otago, and is elsewhere referred to as Chairman of the Otago Harbour Board.

Lake Hayes, Otago. Armstrong, Photo.

Lake Hayes, Otago. Armstrong, Photo.