legislative council

Events In History


The House of Representatives

  • The House of Representatives

    New Zealand's Parliament dates back to 1854, just 14 years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the beginning of the European settlement of the country. For most of its history as a nation state, New Zealand has had some form of elected government.

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  • Page 3 - ParliamentToday there are two parts to Parliament – the House of Representatives (or the Lower House) and the Governor-General, but between 1854 and 1951 there was a third part, the

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 4 – Responsible government

    From the 1840s settlers demanded a say in government. Governor George Grey suspended an overly elaborate constitution in 1846, but the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 gave


  • Ngātata, Wiremu Tako

    Te Āti Awa leader Wiremu Tako Ngātata was one of the first Māori members of the Legislative Council. He opposed legislation threatening Māori possession of land.

  • Whitaker, Frederick

    Despite Frederick Whitaker’s advanced views on electoral reform, this two-time premier tarnished his reputation by land speculation and confiscation.

  • Waterhouse, George Marsden

    George Waterhouse was premier of both South Australia (1861-1863) and New Zealand (1872-1873).

  • Pollen, Daniel

    Largely forgotten today, Daniel Pollen was considered a ‘safe man’ and a good administrator. In July 1875 he took over the premiership from Sir Julius Vogel, absent in Germany, although Harry Atkinson really ran things.

  • Atkinson, Harry Albert

    Biography of Harry Atkinson (1831-1892) who was premier of New Zealand four times. He was a stabilising force in early New Zealand politics and a figure who transcended regional interests for national views.

  • Mackenzie, Thomas Noble

    The Liberals were already yesterday’s men when they made Thomas Mackenzie Sir Joseph Ward’s successor after needing the speaker’s casting vote to win a confidence vote.

  • Bell, Francis Henry Dillon

    Sir Francis Bell was PM for only 16 days, but he held several distinctions – the second oldest (74), the first New Zealand-born, and the last from the Legislative Council.

  • Whitmore, George Stoddart

    From 1866 George Whitmore became substantively involved in the New Zealand wars, leading the colonial forces in no fewer than seven distinct campaigns against an incursive Hauhau force, Te Kooti and Titokowaru’s forces.

  • Parliamentarians surround a car outside the Legislative Council Chamber about 1905 or 1906.