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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73

The Hon. R. J. Seddon, — Premier of New Zealand

page 86

The Hon. R. J. Seddon,

Premier of New Zealand.

Richard John Seddon, now Premier of New Zealand, was born at Eccleston, Lancashire, on June 22nd, 1845. He was apprenticed to a large engineering firm, obtained the Board of Trade Certificate, and shipped to Melbourne on the Star of England in 1864. He was for about two years engaged in mining and engineering in Victoria, and then, when about twenty years of age, came to New Zealand, embarking in mining on the West Coast. Mr. Seadon's entry into public life was made at Kumara, as a member of the Arahura Road Board. He afterwards entered the Westland Provincial Council, and held the office of Chairman of Committees—declining invitations to join the Ministry—until the abolition of the Provinces. The re-establishment of the Westland County Council found Mr. Seddon a member of that body, of which he subsequently became Chairman, a position which he held continuously until he took office in the Ballance Ministry. He was also a member of the Westland Board of Education from the time of its formation until he resigned on leaving the district. He was chairman of that Board for one term, and for thirteen years he was chairman of the Kumaru School Committee; he also served on the Hospital and Charitable Aid Boards. When Kumara was made a borough in 1878, Mr. Seddon was chosen as its first mayor. He continued a member of the Borough Council for many years, and was honoured with a second mayoral term. He was elected member for Hokitika in 1877, and has been a Member of the House of Representatives ever since, and practically for the same district. In 1891 Mr. Seddon became Minister of Mines in the Ballance Government. A year later, owing to Mr. Ballance's illness, he became leader of the House, and in 1893, on Mr. Ballance's death, he became Premier. Mr. Seddon has always taken an active interest in the development of the industrial resources of New Zealand, and his sympathy with the present Exhibition is proved by the vote of £500 received from his Government.—(Illustration on page 66.)