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William Rolleston : a New Zealand statesman



In colonial politics dissatisfaction with the Central Government and the conduct of the Maori War had reached an acute stage. There was a growing clamour for separation—by which was meant the creation of a separate parliament for the South Island. This had already been a burning issue in the Otago Provincial elections of 1867, where every member returned had declared himself in favour of separation. The more moderate urged that at least the finances of page 75the two islands should be separated. Others went further and demanded a separate parliament. This discontent was also making itself felt in Canterbury and Auckland.1 Two years later we find J. D. Ormond of Hawkes Bay writing to Rolleston (20 April 1869):

I hear with extreme regret from yourself and others that the separation cry is being again brought forward as the question of the day in the south. In that miserable cry I see the greatest difficulty we have to contend with in the amalgamation of parties. Already Richmond in addressing his Taranaki constituents has seized upon this point of weakness and without doubt Stafford will make the most of it.

1 Otago Daily Times, 26 March 1867.