William Herries


William Herries
William Herries

William Herries (1859–1923) was born in England and arrived in New Zealand in 1881. From the 1890s he was attracted to politics. In 1896 he was elected to Parliament representing the Bay of Plenty. In 1912 he became Minister of Native Affairs in the Massey government, an office he held until 1921.

His political philosophy reflected the attitudes of the rural settlers he represented. In his view all Māori land which was not developed or used should pass into European hands – by compulsion if necessary. This attitude is expressed in the blunt phrase "use it or lose it". While he was Minister well over two million acres (800,000 hectares) of Māori land was acquired for settlement, half of it purchased by the government.

Adapted from the DNZB biography bby Michael Belgrave

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