Events In History


First World War laws and regulations

Homosexual law reform

  • Homosexual law reform

    The homosexual law reform campaign moved beyond the gay community to wider issues of human rights and discrimination. Extreme viewpoints ensured a lengthy and passionate debate before the Homosexual Law Reform Act was passed in July 1986.

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  • Page 2 - Setting the sceneThere is a long history of opposition to sexual activity between men and an equally long history of legislation criminalising this

Election Days

  • Election Days

    When New Zealanders go to the polls on 26 November 2011, they will continue a 158-year-old tradition of parliamentary democracy in this country. Politics may have changed beyond recognition since 1853, but the cut and thrust of the campaign trail, the power of advertising, and the drama of polling day remain as relevant as ever.

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  • Page 3 - Cleaning up elections The New Zealand Parliament was alarmed by reports of electoral abuses in Auckland in the 1850s. It decided that electoral laws needed to be tightened, and in 1858 passed a series

History of the Governor-General

  • History of the Governor-General

    New Zealand has had a governor or (from 1917) a governor-general since 1840. The work of these men and women has reflected the constitutional and political history of New Zealand in many ways.

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  • Page 7 – Patriated

    Late last century, New Zealand governments patriated (indigenised) the governor-generalship.

Dominion status

  • Dominion status

    On 26 September 1907 the colony of New Zealand ceased to exist. It became, instead, a dominion within the British Empire.

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  • Page 5 - What changed?What changed when New Zealand became a dominion in


  • Fenton, Francis Dart

    F.D. Fenton is best known as the key architect and long-serving Chief Judge of the Native Land Court.

  • Hanan, Josiah Ralph

    As Minister of Māori Affairs in the 1960s, Ralph Hanan generally showed understanding of Māori interests and aspirations.

  • Martin, William

    Appointed New Zealand's first chief justice, William Martin, persided over the murder trial of Maketū Wharetōtara, a Bay of Islands Māori charged with murdering the granddaughter of a leading Ngāpuhi chief, two European adults and a European child.

  • Prendergast, James

    Lawyer James Prendergast was New Zealand's third chief justice.

  • Palmer, Geoffrey Winston

    Geoffrey Palmer, the hardworking, loyal deputy who became PM when David Lange resigned dramatically in August 1989, knew that Labour was doomed. ‘What I got from Lange was a hospital pass.’

  • Richmond, Christopher William

    William Richmond was a lawyer, Minister in Edward Stafford’s Parliament, and judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.

  • Main image: Frederick Chapman

    Frederick Chapman was a lawyer and ethnologist who served as a judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand