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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]

Former Members Of The House Of Representatives

Former Members Of The House Of Representatives.

Mr. Edmund Barff was returned a member of the House of Representatives for the Westland constituency, in 1863, held office until 1870, and was re-elected in 1876. As a miner, Mr. Barff made a good representative of the goldfields of the West Coast, and was generally known in politics as the framer of the Mining Act of 1877, known as Barff's Act. This act has since served as a basis for other mining legislation.

Mr. William Sefton Moorhouse was a member for Westland in the House of Representatives from 1866 to 1867. He is further referred to as the champion of the Lyttelton tunnel, and as Superintendent of Canterbury, at pages 37, 38, and 93, of the Canterbury volume of this Cyclopedia.

Mr. Thomas Alfred Sneyd Kynnersley was returned for North Westland to the House of Representatives in 1870. He was at one time a goldfields warden and magistrate, and was stationed at Westport. At the time of the Fenian riots at Addison's Flat, he displayed great judgment and discretion, and was the means of averting trouble which otherwise might have resulted in bloodshed.

Mr. John White was a member of the House of Representatives in the years 1871–1875. He represented the Hokitika electorate at the time when that constituency returned two members, and was an energetic representative. Mr. White was well known as a shipping agent, and for some time represented the old Panama Company at Hokitika. For a number of years he was a member of the Hokitika Borough Council.

Mr. George Henry Tribe was returned to the House of Representatives by the electors of Ross, in 1871, and served his constituency until the year 1876. He was well known as a staunch advocate of the mining industry. Mr. Tribe resided chiefly in Wellington after his election, and died there many years ago.

Mr. Charles Edward Button represented Hokitika in the House of Representatives in the years 1876 and 1877. In 1868, he was elected to a seat on the Westland County Council, and about the same time was chosen Mayor of Hokitika. As a member of the County Council, Mr. Button was useful in frustrating two or three bare-faced attempts at political jobbery. A few years later, he was induced to stand for Parliament. Notwithstanding his success at the poll, he resigned after the second session (1877) rather than continue the representative of a constituency which favoured a party he felt bound to oppose. He is further referred to on pages 110 and 111 of the Auckland volume of this Cyclopedia.

Mr. Seymour Thorne George represented Hokitika in the House of Representatives during the years 1878 and 1879. He also sat for Rodney, a North Island constituency, from 1880 to 1884. Mr. George, who is a nephew of the late Sir George Grey, was called to the Legislative Council on the 22nd of June, 1903.

Mr. James Bickerton Fisher was returned to the House of Representatives, for the Buller constituency, in the year 1879, and served his electorate until 1881. He is more fully referred to at page 245 of the Canterbury volume of this work.

Mr. Robert C. Reid represented Westland in the House of Representatives from 1879 to 1881. He was the proprietor and editor of the “West Coast Times,” and issued a well illustrated volume entitled “The Golden Coast.”

Mr. George Gerald Fitzgerald represented a Westland constituency from 1882 to 1884. He was for some years Resident Magistrate at Hokitika, with jurisdiction throughout Westland. Mr. Fitzgerald was also well known as a journalist in Invercargill, and in the year 1862, in partnership with others, he founded the “Southland Times,” with which he was intimately connected for some time. He was afterwards editor of the “Timaru Herald,” and died at Timaru. He was a brother of Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald, sometime Auditor-General of New Zealand.

Mr. John Bevan , J.P., who represented Hokitika in the House of Representatives from 1884 to 1887, was born in Jersey, Channel Islands, in 1837, and educated at the Jersey Grammar School. He emigrated to Victoria in 1857, and came to New Zealand nine years later. As representative for Hokitika, Mr. Bevan was instrumental in obtaining a grant of 500 acres of land on the shores of Lake Mahinapua for the Old Men's Home. Mr. Bevan was also a member and chairman of the Hokitika Education Board for many years, being the Government representative on that body. He was a commissioner for thirteen years on the Westland Waste Lands Board, and has also identified himself with other local bodies of the district.

Mr. Joseph Grimmond , who at one time represented Westland in the House of Representative, was elected in 1887, when he defeated Mr. John Bevan by 290 votes, and sat till the close of the session of 1890. During that time many Bills, in connection with which Mr. Grimmond took a prominent part, were introduced and passed, the Hokitika High School Act being amongst the number. In 1890 he contested the seat against Mr. Seddon, who obtained a majority of 338, page 484 and again in 1896, he suffered another defeat at the hands of the popular Premier. Born in Drogheda, Ireland, in 1843, Mr. Grimmond followed the calling of an engineer after leaving school. In 1859, he landed in Melbourne from the ship “Eagle,” and worked on the goldfields of Ballarat and Creswick. At the outbreak of Gabriel's Gully, in Otago, in 1861, Mr. Grimmond followed up the “rush” with success. Two years later, he went to Makamarina, and afterwards he moved to the West Coast. Mr. Grimmond erected mining machinery at Ross and Reefton, and also constructed and owned sawmills in the Reefton district and at Ross. In mining matters, he has been very successful, and is largely interested in various ventures. The Ross United Gold Mining Company (now liquidated), was managed by Mr. Grimmond, and he held a large interest in it. Together with Messrs McKay and Davy he owns the Back Creek and Kanieri Lake water-races. He is also interested in the Mont d'Or Gold Mining Company at Ross. Mr. Grimmond has been active in local politics; he has been eleven or twelve times Mayor of Ross, and still (1905) holds the position; and was thrice elected chairman of the Westland County Council, of which he is still a member. He married a daughter of Mr. D. Macfarlane, sometime Stipendiary Magistrate, of Hokitika.

Mr. William Hill Harrison was a member of the House of Representatives for the Grey electorate from 1868 to 1870, and from 1871 to 1875. He was the first editor of the “Grey River Argus,” owned by Messrs Kerr, Arnott, and Co., and his cultivated intelligence, and his lucid literary style made the paper one of the best in New Zealand during his editorship. Mr. Harrison was a progressive politician and a fluent speaker, and took a special interest in the amendment of the Land Laws. Owing to his outspokenness in recommending Point Elizabeth as a proper site for a harbour for the district, and advocating the construction of harbour works by prison labour, and that a central prison for the colony should be established there, Mr. Harrison was rejected by the electors of Grey.

Mr. Martin Kennedy was returned to the House of Representatives for the Grey electoral district in the year 1876, but resigned in the following year. He is further referred to in the Wellington volume of this Cyclopedia, at pages 508–9.

Mr. Charles Woolcock represented the constituency of Greymouth in the House of Representatives, from 1876 until 1879. He was known as a merchant in the district, and is still remembered as having made a stir in the House on the question of the incidence of taxation.

Mr. Edward Masters represented Grey Valley in the House of Representatives during 1879–1880. He was born in London, England, in the year 1839, and arrived in Australia with his parents in 1849. Mr. Masters afterwards came to New Zealand, settled on the West Coast, and in conjunction with the late Mr. Forsyth established the business now (1905) carried on by Messrs Forsyth and McKay. As a public man and a private citizen, Mr. Masters did much to forward the interests of the West Coast, and he was much respected. He is further referred to as a former Mayor of Greymouth.

Mr. Thomas Shailer Weston was elected to the House of Representatives for the Grey electorate in the year 1881. In the following year the district was divided, and Mr. Weston stood for Inangahua, for which he was returned; but he resigned his seat in 1883, in order to attend to his private business. Mr. Weston is further referred to at pages 247–8 of the Canterbury volume of this Cyclopedia.

Mr. Joseph Petrie was a member of the House of Representatives for Grey, from 1882 to 1884. He stood for the district at the general election of 1905, and at the polls on the 6th of December, he received fully 2,600 votes. Mr. Petrie is further referred to as a member of the Greymouth Borough Council.