All 95 seats in the House of Representatives
The New Zealand general election of 1881 was held on 8 and 9 December in the Māori and European electorates, respectively, to elect 95 MPs to the 8th session of the New Zealand Parliament.
1881 was the first time a general election was held under universal male suffrage; all MPs were elected in single-member electorates; and the country quota was introduced, allowing rural electorates to have 25% fewer voters than urban electorates. Beginning with the 1881 election, all elections in European electorates were to be held on the same day, a measure not introduced for Māori electorates until 1951.
The previous electoral redistribution was undertaken in 1875 for the 1875–1876 election. In the six years since, New Zealand's European population had increased by 65%. In the 1881 electoral redistribution, the House of Representatives increased the number of European representatives to 91 (up from 84 since the 1875–76 election). The number of Māori electorates was held at four. The House further decided that electorates should not have more than one representative, which led to 35 new electorates being formed: Ashburton, Auckland North, Awarua, Christchurch North, Christchurch South, Coromandel, Dunedin Central, Dunedin East, Dunedin South, Dunedin West, Foxton, Franklin North, Franklin South, Hawke's Bay, Hokonui, Inangahua, Kumara, Lincoln, Manukau, Moeraki, Peninsula, St Albans, Stanmore, Sydenham, Taranaki, Tauranga, Te Aro, Thorndon, Waimate, Waipawa, Wairarapa North, Wairarapa South, Waitotara, Wakanui, and Wellington South. In addition, two electorates that had previously been abolished were recreated: Bay of Islands and Oamaru.
These changes necessitated a major disruption to existing boundaries. Only six electorates remained unchanged: Waikato, Waipa, Bruce, Lyttelton, Nelson, and Picton.
The electoral distribution was the first that formally acknowledged the existence of a country quota, where country electorates contained 25% fewer voters than town electorates.
The 1881 election was held on Thursday, 8 December, in the Māori electorates and on Friday, 9 December, in the European electorates to elect a total of 95 MPs to the 8th Parliament. A total number of 120,972 (66.5%) voters turned out to vote.In 11 seats there was only one candidate. 36 and 55 seats were in the North Island and South Island, respectively, plus the 4 Māori electorates.
The incumbent government led by John Hall retained office having support from 45 members with 39 "Greyites" (supporters of George Grey) and 11 Independents not affiliated with either faction.
The following table shows the successful candidate for each electorate.
|Edward George Wright||Ashburton||Greyite||Second|
|William Fisher Pearson||Ashley||Greyite||First|
|George Grey||Auckland East||Greyite||Fourth|
|Thomas Peacock||Auckland North||Independent||First|
|Joseph Dargaville||Auckland West||Independent||First|
|James Parker Joyce||Awarua||Greyite||Second|
|Richard Hobbs||Bay of Islands||Conservative||Second|
|John Munro||Buller||Independent Liberal||First|
|Henry Thomson||Christchurch North||Conservative||First|
|John Holmes||Christchurch South||Greyite||First|
|James William Thomson||Clutha||Conservative||Fourth|
|Thomas Bracken||Dunedin Central||Greyite||First|
|Matthew Green||Dunedin East||Independent||First|
|Henry Fish||Dunedin South||Independent||First|
|Thomas Dick||Dunedin West||Conservative||Fourth|
|Allan McDonald||East Coast||Greyite||Second|
|Benjamin Harris||Franklin North||Greyite||Second|
|Ebenezer Hamlin||Franklin South||Greyite||Third|
|Fred Sutton||Hawkes Bay||Conservative||Third|
|Gerard George Fitzgerald||Hokitika||Conservative||First|
|Thomas S. Weston||Inangahua||Conservative||Second|
|Walter Woods Johnston||Manawatu||Conservative||Fourth|
|Francis Wallace Mackenzie||Mataura||Greyite||First|
|Cecil de Lautour||Mount Ida||Greyite||Third|
|Thomas Kelly||New Plymouth||Conservative||Fifth|
|James Macandrew||Port Chalmers||Greyite||Eighth|
|John Stevens||Rangitikei||Independent Liberal||First|
|Seymour Thorne George||Rodney||Greyite||Third|
|John Evans Brown||St Albans||Greyite||Third|
|Charles John Johnston||Te Aro||Conservative||First|
|James Clark Brown||Tuapeka||Greyite||Fifth|
|John Blair Whyte||Waikato||Conservative||Second|
|Frederick Alexander Whitaker||Waipa||Conservative||Second|
|William Cowper Smith||Waipawa||Independent Liberal||First|
|George Beetham||Wairarapa North||Conservative||Third|
|Walter Clarke Buchanan||Wairarapa South||Conservative||First|
|Thomas Young Duncan||Waitaki||Greyite||First|
|William John Hurst||Waitemata||Conservative||Second|
|William Hogg Watt||Wanganui||Conservative||Second|
|William Hutchison||Wellington South||Greyite||Second|
|Henare Tomoana||Eastern Maori||Conservative||Third|
|Hone Tawhai||Northern Maori||Greyite||Second|
|Hori Kerei Taiaroa||Southern Maori||Greyite||Fourth|
|Wiremu Te Wheoro||Western Maori||Greyite||Second|
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