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Parliament

Events In History

14 September 1972

On 14 September 1972, a petition was delivered to Parliament which challenged politicians to prioritise saving te reo Māori. 

12 January 1954

A crowd of 50,000 greeted Queen Elizabeth II, resplendent in her coronation gown, when she opened a special session of the New Zealand Parliament in its centennial year.

1 January 1951

The Legislative Council was New Zealand's Upper House, to which members were appointed, not elected. It ceased to exist on New Year's Day 1951.

29 October 1919

The passing of the Women’s Parliamentary Rights Act enabled women to stand for election to the House of Representatives, 26 years after they won the right to vote.

26 September 1907

Prime Minister Ward read the proclamation to a smallish crowd from the steps of the General Assembly Library in Wellington. This first Dominion Day was a public holiday.

14 August 1891

These petitions, signed by 9000 women, contributed to the introduction of a Female Suffrage Bill in Parliament. This received majority support in the House of Representatives but was defeated in the Legislative Council.

26 July 1865

The capital moved from Auckland to more centrally located Wellington on the recommendation of an Australian commission. The former Wellington Provincial Council chamber became the new home for Parliament.

29 June 1862

No human lives but many irreplaceable government records were lost when the steamer was wrecked on the Wairarapa coast

24 May 1854
It started with a bang – 21 in fact, fired from the guns at Auckland’s Fort Britomart. Once the smoke cleared, New Zealand’s first Parliament was in business.
19 August 1853

The originator of the New Zealand Company was elected to the House of Representatives as the member for Hutt six months after arriving in the colony. He had been quick to lobby for the introduction of responsible government.

17 January 1853

Governor Sir George Grey issued a proclamation to bring the New Zealand Constitution Act (UK) 1852 into operation, establishing a system of representative government for the colony.

Articles

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. Read the full article

Page 1 - 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

Page 2 - Quick history

New Zealand's Parliament has been making laws, scrutinising the government and representing New Zealanders for over 150 years.

Page 3 - Parliament

Today 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

Page 4 - Doing business

The operation of Parliament has changed over time as its workload has grown and new systems such as MMP have been implemented.

Page 5 - First sitting, 1854

It started with a bang – 21 in fact, fired from the guns at Auckland's Fort Britomart. As soon as the smoke had cleared, New Zealand's first Parliament was under

Page 6 - The Opposition

The Opposition uses a variety of tactics to hold the government to

Page 7 - The Speaker

The Speaker, who is elected by MPs, has a key role in representing the House to the Crown and in presiding over the

Page 8 - Useful terms

Glossary of terms used in

Page 9 - Milestones

Timeline of key events in New Zealand's parliamentary

Page 10 - Further information

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. Read the full article

Page 2 - Modern duties

The governor-general's duties are divided into three functions: ceremonial, community and

Parliament's people

Today there are usually between 120 and 123 MPs in New Zealand's Parliament, which is a far cry from the 37 who met for the first time in Auckland in 1854. Read the full article

Page 1 - Parliament's people

Today there are usually between 120 and 123 MPs in New Zealand's Parliament, which is a far cry from the 37 who met for the first time in Auckland in

Page 2 - Women MPs

For much of its first century, Parliament was a bastion of male culture. Nowadays women make up 30% of

Page 4 - Pay and travel

One of the early issues parliamentarians discussed was pay for MPs, and one of the biggest difficulties MPs faced in the early years was travelling to

Page 5 - Social life

In the early years, Parliament was a little like a superior gentlemen's club.

Page 6 - Staff

New Zealand's early politicians encouraged Parliament to adopt the traditions of the British Parliament so that New Zealand's Parliament would be invested with great dignity.

Page 7 - Spectators

Aside from its constitutional functions, Parliament has also provided a spectacle for members of the

Page 8 - Reporting and broadcasting

The reporting of Parliament has always been an important part of the parliamentary

Page 9 - Biographies

Some of the key figures in New Zealand parliamentary history

Page 10 - Further information

Parliament's culture and traditions

Explore Parliament's rich history and its colourful culture and traditions. Read the full article

Page 1 - Parliament's culture and traditions

Explore Parliament's rich history and its colourful culture and

Page 2 - Parliament in cartoons

For centuries, politics and Parliament have been the subject of public comment, satire and humour. Almost since the beginning, New Zealand's Parliament has been portrayed through

Page 3 - Parliament in postcards

Painters and photographers loved to capture the beauty of Parliament's buildings in postcards, and New Zealanders and visitors sent these to friends and family in new Zealand and

Page 4 - Westminster traditions

Many parliaments take a lead from Britain's ancient House of Commons, and New Zealand, too, followed the traditions in the home

Page 5 - Bad language

In the cut and thrust of Parliament's Debating Chamber, there are rules about what can and cannot be said.

Page 6 - Parliament in te reo

Te reo (the Māori language) came into Parliament with the first Māori MPs, elected in

Page 8 - Further information

Political and constitutional timeline

Pivotal political and constitutional events with links to further information Read the full article

Page 1 - Political and constitutional timeline

Pivotal political and constitutional events with links to further

Māori and the vote

Between April and June 1868 the first four Māori MPs were elected to New Zealand's Parliament. Despite ongoing debate, the Māori seats remain a distinctive feature of this country's electoral landscape almost 150 years later. Read the full article

Page 1 - Māori and the vote

Between April and June 1868 the first four Māori MPs were elected to New Zealand's Parliament. Despite ongoing debate, the Māori seats remain a distinctive feature of this

Sir Charles Fergusson (1924-30) opens Parliament in 1925

Images and media for Parliament