John Hall


John Hall
John Hall

John (later Sir John) Hall was a force in our politics for several decades, leading the parliamentary campaign for votes for women.

Hall came to Canterbury to farm but soon entered provincial and central politics. Apart from trips back to Britain and some ill health, he was usually in Cabinet. After the Grey ministry fell in October 1879, he forged an alliance with Auckland politicians. His legacy was mixed. He passed Grey’s Triennial Parliaments Act and enfranchised men 21 years of age or older, but was financially conservative. One of his ministers led the raid on the Māori village of Parihaka.

Hall’s government scraped back in at the 1882 election, but he was ill and resigned to recuperate in England. After returning here, he worked with Kate Sheppard for female suffrage and led the parliamentary fight to have the legislation passed.

Sir John retired from politics in 1893 but was honoured by his province by being elected mayor of Christchurch in 1906 for its international exhibition. Hall had been the first chairman of the municipal council.

By Gavin McLean

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