William Skinner

William Skinner

William Skinner was the son of pioneer settlers in Taranaki. He trained as a survey cadet and surveyed much of the bush-clad areas of Taranaki. From 1888, ill-health required a change in roles to draughtsman and inspecting surveyor. He was then, successively, commissioner of Crown lands and chief surveyor for Marlborough, Hawke's Bay and Canterbury. Frequent contact with Maori during field surveying aroused his interest in Maori history and culture, and this interest particularly flourished after his retirement from the civil service in 1919. He was a founding member of the Polynesian Society in 1892, serving as its president and in other posts. He edited the society's journal from 1901 to 1925 and contributed many papers on Maori architecture, religion and mythology, some in collaboration with Percy Smith. He also published extensively on European history and settlement in Taranaki. Skinner was a founding member and chairman of the Taranaki Museum, to which he donated his collection of Maori artefacts. During his time as a member and president of the Taranaki Scenery Preservation Society, he secured the reservation of several scenic and historic places, both locally and further afield, such as the gannet rookery at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay and Horahora Kakahu – the island near Ocean Bay, Marlborough, where British sovereignty was proclaimed over the South Island. (See also his biography on the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography website.)

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P Graham Anonymous

Posted: 25 Jan 2013

Please provide the exact dates for William Henry Skinner's appointment and resignation as commissioner of Crown lands and chief surveyor for Marlborough, Hawke's Bay and Canterbury. All NZD dervied biogs focus on the Polynesian Soc and Taranaki.