New Zealanders who resisted the First World War

Page 3 – Convictions for sedition 1915-18

The War Regulations Act 1914 allowed citizens to be arrested and charged with sedition for making ‘disloyal’ or ‘seditious’ statements, either verbally or in print. Such statements could be made in front of a large crowd at an anti-war rally, or in semi-public settings such as workplaces or pubs.

The police laid charges on the basis of having heard the remarks themselves (such as at rallies), or when members of the public reported them. The local magistrate heard witnesses before making a final judgment. The accused could be fined or imprisoned for up to a year.

New regulations passed in December 1916 significantly expanded government powers to punish and imprison people for making ‘seditious’ or ‘disloyal’ statements. In February 1917 the government passed further regulations which banned ‘seditious strikes’ in industries essential to the war effort.

As a result of the 102 successful prosecutions, 67 people were imprisoned for up to 12 months, 29 were fined, and 6 were convicted and discharged. Eighty-eight of these people were convicted for seditious/disloyal statements and 14 for involvement in ‘seditious strikes’. Seven of those convicted also served separate prison terms as conscientious objectors. Those convicted include one woman, 70-year-old Ellen Fuller, who had been overheard muttering seditious remarks at the Palmerston North railway station. A Waikato Māori named Toiwhare was also convicted for saying that he ‘would like the Germans to win and come to New Zealand.’

This page includes a summary table of a more detailed downloadable spreadsheet which has been compiled from the tables of convictions and prison releases published in the Police Gazettes (held by Archives New Zealand) for the years 1915–18. People seeking further information about these convictions should conduct a search on the Papers Past website.

Abbreviations and glossary (for spreadsheet version)

MC = Magistrate’s Court; NA = Not applicable; PG = Police Gazette; publishing = making a public statement, whether verbally or in print

NameOccupationYear of birthChargeSentence
Anderson, Andrew TheodoreCarpenter1866Publishing a disloyal statementFine or 2 months
Anderson, Christian Frederick EdmundCanvasser1866Publishing a seditious statement1 month
Ansell, CharlesWharf labourer1880(1) Publishing matter likely to interfere with recruiting (2) publishing disloyal statementsFined £20
Arbuckle, JohnMiner1878Encouraging a seditious strike9 months
Baldwin, Golden AKA Baldwin, Golden FrederickLabourer1882Publishing a disloyal statementFined £5
Beavis, James AmbroseSignalman1884Publishing disloyal wordsTo pay costs
Bell, William JohnLaw clerk1880Publishing a disloyal statement11 months
Brindle, ThomasLabourer1881Seditious utterances1 year
Brown, Walter AKA WalshLabourer1889Disloyal utterances2 months
Browne, EdwardElectrician1896Using disloyal utterancesConvicted and discharged
Campbell, PatrickFireman and wharf labourer1889Publishing a disloyal statement2 months
Chapple, James Henry GeorgeClergyman1866Seditious utterances11 months
Coll, DominickLabourer1876Publishing a disloyal statementFined £5
Connolly, HarryLabourer1874Publishing a disloyal statement6 months
Cooke, Frederick RileyTailor1867Publishing a seditious utterance1 year
Crowley, John DeLacey AKA Clifford, WilliamLabourer1876Seditious utterances6 months
Cumming, JamesMiner1879Encouraging a seditious strike9 months
Cummins, Thomas PadraicJournalist1885Seditious utterances11 months
Cunningham, DanielFireman1888Party to a seditious strike1 month
Derrick, William HenryLabourer1865Publishing a seditious utterance1 year
Drumm, Edward JamesStone-cutter1869Using seditious wordsTo come up if called upon
Fairfield, JohnBlacksmith1883Publishing a disloyal statement3 months
Finucane, ThomasLabourer1887Publishing a disloyal statement11 months
Fischer, Adolf GotliefPhotographer1859Publishing a disloyal statementFined £25
Fitzpatrick, Lawrence EdwardFireman1897Taking part in a seditious strike1 month
Flood, JohnClerk1879Seditious utterances6 months
Flowerday, CharlesLabourer1875Publishing disloyal words Fined £5
Fluety, RobertLabourer1895Publishing a disloyal statementFine or 2 weeks
Fournier, Sidney HouguenotMiner1870Publishing a seditious utterance1 year
Fraser, PeterLabourer1885Seditious utterances1 year
Freeth, Pierce CharlesJournalist1862Publishing matter likely to interfere with recruitingFined £1
Fuller, EllenDomestic1846Disloyal utterances2 months
Galland, FrancisSeaman1884Party to a seditious strike14 days
Gearschawski, John MichaelFarmer1877Seditious utterancesTo keep the peace
Gill, EgertonAccountant1884Publishing seditious utterancesFined £20
Goodwin, WilliamLabourer and painter1880Publishing a disloyal statement11 months
Hagen, Francis PeterClerk1885Publishing disloyal words (2 charges)Fined £25 on first charge, convicted and discharged for second
Hellson, ThomasMiner1888Encouraging a seditious strike9 months
Henricks, ErnestLabourer1886Publishing a disloyal statement2 months
Howell, William Thomas AKA Howell, WilliamSeaman1880Inciting a seditious strike3 months
Hunter, HiramClerk1874Seditious utterances3 months
Iskirka, FrankTinsmith1887Publishing a disloyal statementFined £3
Jones, JohnMiner1885Encouraging a seditious strike9 months
Jones, Joseph HerbertLabourer1886Seditious utterances1 year
Jordan, ArthurMiner1881Being party to a seditious strike9 months
Kane, MartinBook-keeper1882Uttering disloyal statements1 month
Kean, PatrickLabourer1864Publishing a disloyal statement2 months
Kevern, JohnLabourer and carter1885Publishing a disloyal statementFined £10
Kilgour, Frederick HamiltonPublisher1860Publishing a letter likely to interfere with recruitingConvicted and discharged
Lamb, RobertLabourer1878Making disloyal utterances3 months
Langley, Edward ErnestWharf labourer1881Seditious utterances6 months
Lawless, John JamesLabourer1884Seditious utterances3 months
Lind or Lynd, Ernest Emil AKA Johnson, JacobLabourer1878Publishing a disloyal statement11 months
Lloyd, FrederickLabourer1890Seditious utterances6 months
Marshall, FrankMiner1860Publishing a disloyal statementFined £5
Mayo, Henry W.School teacher1883Publishing a disloyal statementFined £25
McMahon, JosephLabourer1873Publishing disloyal wordsFined £15
McManus, William AKA Banana BobHawker1874Expressing seditious intention1 month
McRae, Murdoch AlexanderFarmer1886Publishing a statement likely to interfere with recruiting11 months
Newton, George HenryLabourer1889Party to a seditious strikeFine or 7 days
O'Brien, JamesEngine driver1875Publishing a seditious utterance11 months
O'Brien, JosephMiner1885Encouraging a seditious strike9 months
O'Neill, John PatrickSlaughterman1893Sedition11 months
Orbell, Milton PercyContractor1868Publishing a disloyal statementFine or 2 months
O'Rourke, PeterMiner1878Publishing a seditious utterance11 months
O'Ryan, Albert JamesTraveller1886Seditious utterances11 months
O'Shea, Edward JosephLabourer1881Seditious utterancesTo pay costs
O'Sullivan, Timothy JamesEngine driver1881Seditious utterancesFine or 3 months
Parker, WilliamLabourer1865Seditious utterances1 year
Parsons, Alphonsus Hugh AKA Parsons, HughLabourer1882Publishing a disloyal statement (disloyal utterance)2 months
Pavlovich, MickFarmer1880Publishing a disloyal statementFined £5
Petersen, Harry AKA SchillingCarpenter1877Publishing a disloyal statement3 months
Peterson, NicholasMiner1883Publishing disloyal words1 month
Pieterse, JanSeaman1878Seditious utterances(1) 2 months (2) 6 months
Ramsay, Peter ScottGrocer1891Publishing a seditious utterance11 months
Reader, Stanley MarshFarmer1890Interfering with recruitingFined £20
Reynolds, Henry WilliamBookseller and bootmaker1870Publishing matter likely to interfere with recruitingFined £50
Robinson, Joseph BramwellTimber merchant1886Publishing a seditious utterance3 months
Robinson, Percy TuckerClerk1873Expressing seditious intentionFined £25
Roche, John ArthurCatholic priest1884Publishing a seditious statementFined £5
Rowe, JamesLabourer1882Publishing a disloyal statementFined £10
Semple, RobertMiner1874(1) Expressing a seditious intention (2 charges), (2) publishing a seditious utterance(1) 1 year on each charge (2) 1 year
Skipper, John FisherFarmer1860Publishing a statement likely to interfere with recruiting3 months
Snow, William Saxon FairfieldFarmer1880Seditious utterancesFined £10
Tattle, Alfred GeorgeLabourer1881Publishing a disloyal statementFine or 7 days
Thorn, James AKA Thorne, JamesJournalist1882Publishing a seditious statement (WRA)1 year
Tohill, JamesJoiner1887Making a disloyal statement2 months on each charge
ToiwhareLabourer1888Publishing a disloyal statement1 month
Urquhart, Harry Richard AKA Harry RitchieSchool teacher1879Publishing a seditious utterance11 months
Vail, Alexander FrancisPrinter1880Aiding and abetting the publishing of a seditious utteranceFined £3
Vincent, Ernest Albert AKA Vincent, ErnestLabourer1889Publishing a statement likely to interfere with recruitingFined £1
Waklin, GeorgeWharf labourer1877Seditious utterancesFined £5
Walker, FrancisFarmer1854Publishing a disloyal statement3 months
Webb, Patrick CharlesMiner and Member of House of Representatives1885Publishing a seditious utterance68 days
Wesley, JohnMiner1860Publishing a disloyal statement2 months
Williams, Edward ReginaldPrinter1893Publishing a seditious utterance1 year
Wilson, Bertie WilliamWool-worker1885Publishing a disloyal statement1 month
Winnard, JohnMiner1888Encouraging a seditious strike9 months
Wintle, RobertMiner1873Procuring a seditious strike2 months
Woofindin, Frederick JamesFarmer1868Making a statement likely to interfere with recruitingFined £2
Young, William Thomas AKA Thomas WilliamUnion Secretary1871Inciting a seditious strike3 months
How to cite this page

'Convictions for sedition 1915-18', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 1-Aug-2016

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