1887 New Zealand general election

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1887 New Zealand general election
Flag of New Zealand.svg
  1884 7 (Māori) & 26 (general) September 1887 1890  

All 95 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
48 seats were needed for a majority
 First partySecond party
  Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, ca 1885.jpg Robert Stout, 1885.jpg
Leader Harry Atkinson Robert Stout
Party Conservatives Stout–Vogelites
Leader since18831884
Leader's seat Egmont Dunedin East (lost seat)
Seats won5234
Seat changeIncrease2.svg 20Decrease2.svg 23
Popular voteN/AN/A

Premier before election

Robert Stout

Subsequent Premier

Harry Atkinson

The 1887 New Zealand general election was held on 26 September [1] to elect 95 MPs to the tenth session of the New Zealand Parliament. The Māori vote was held on 7 September. 175,410 votes (67.1% turnout) were cast. [2] In 5 seats there was only one candidate. [3]


1887 electoral redistribution

The Representation Act 1887 had major implication for the procedure of revising electoral boundaries. The revision task was transferred from committees formed by MPs to a permanent Representation Commission. The act specified that a country quota of 18% be applied to all designated districts that excluded boroughs with a population above 2,000 people, and that all electorates were to have the same nominal population within a tolerance of 750 people. It was also stipulated that electoral boundaries were to be reviewed after each New Zealand census. [4]

In the 1887 electoral redistribution, although the Representation Commission was required through the Representation Act 1887 to maintain existing electorates "as far as possible", rapid population growth in the North Island required the transfer of three seats from the South Island to the north. Ten new electorates were created: Auckland Central, Woodville, Wellington South and Suburbs, Masterton, Wellington East, Waimea-Picton, Linwood, Rangitata, Waihemo, and Ponsonby. One former electorate, Wairarapa, was recreated. [5]

1887 was the year the Independent Representation Commission was established to redraw electorate boundaries after each five-yearly population census. The country quota was reduced to 18%. A £10 candidate's deposit was introduced. [4]

The Scarecrow Ministry

The Stout-Vogel government had been soundly beaten. Only 34 returned members supported the government, whilst 52 opposition MPs were elected as well as nine independents. [6] This led to much confusion in Wellington in September 1887 when the members gathered to form a government. John Bryce, William Rolleston and Robert Stout had all lost their seats. Sir John Hall said he was too old. Sir Julius Vogel's policies had been rejected by the voters.

So there was no alternative to Harry Atkinson, and after two weeks of negotiations he announced a ministry on 11 October. Only two ministers had served with him before. The Scarecrow Ministry was not expected to last, but did.

The years 1887 and 1888 were the worst of the Long Depression, and Atkinson cut salaries, raised loans and raised customs duties. He was not popular with the wealthy, but they feared the Opposition leaders Grey and Ballance even more. By 1890 Atkinson was too ill to make speeches in the House.


The following table shows the results of the 1887 general election: [7]

Elected member
defeated candidates
MP's term
Bay of Islands
Held by R Hobbs
Richard Hobbs
2nd: John Lundon
Held by E Mitchelson
Robert Thompson
2nd: Joseph Dargaville
Held by W Moat
William Moat
2nd: Jackson Palmer
3rd: A Colbeck
4th: J Hudson
Held by R Monk
Richard Monk
2nd: Reader Wood
Held by J Tole
Edwin Mitchelson
2nd: JA Connell
Held by T Peacock
Edward Withy
2nd: Joseph Tole
3rd: HT Garrett
New electorate
Thomas Peacock
2nd: CS Wright
3rd: E Cooper
Auckland North
Held by T Thompson
Thomas Thompson
2nd:Samuel Vaile
Auckland West [8]
Held by J McM Dargaville
David Goldie
2nd:John Shera
3rd: Edward W. Morrison
Auckland Central
New electorate
George Grey
Held by FJ Moss
Frederick Moss
2nd:Seymour Thorne George
Held by GM O'Rorke
Maurice O'Rorke
2nd: SS Osborne
Franklin North
Held by Frank Buckland
Frank Lawry
2nd: Frank Buckland
Franklin South
Held by E Hamlin
Ebenezer Hamlin
2nd: Benjamin Harris
3rd: FB Kingsford
Held by A Cadman
Alfred Cadman
2nd: J Mackay
Held by W Fraser
William Fraser
2nd: James McGowan
3rd: J Frater
Held by JB Whyte
John Blair Whyte
2nd: GW Russell
Held by GB Morris
William Kelly
2nd: Richard John Gill
3rd: H Kerr
Held by E Lake
William Jackson
2nd: JB Teasdale
3rd: D Maxwell
4th: T Campbell
East Coast
Held by S Locke
Andrew Graham
2nd: A McDonald
3rd: MJ Gannon
Held by R Trimble
George Marchant
2nd: Elliot
3rd: R Trimble
4th: T Kelly
New Plymouth
Held by O Samuel
Oliver Samuel
2nd: Edward Smith
3rd: Edward Dockrill
Held by HA Atkinson
Harry Atkinson
2nd: Felix McGuire
Held by J Ballance
John Ballance
2nd: Gilbert Carson
Held by J Bryce
George Hutchinson
2nd: John Bryce
3rd: J Morgan
Held by JD Ormond
John Davies Ormond
2nd: Joseph Ivess
Hawkes Bay
Held by WR Russell
William Russell
2nd: A Desmond
Held by WC Smith
Thomas Tanner
2nd:J Harker
3rd:Fred Sutton
4th: ARW Lascelles
Held by RC Bruce
Robert Bruce
2nd: J Stevens
3rd: F Arkwright
Held by DH Macarthur
Douglas Macarthur
2nd: GL West
Held by J Wilson
James Wilson
2nd: ES Thynne
3rd: Sanson
New Electorate
William Smith
2nd: Horace Baker
3rd: William Wilson McCardle
New Electorate
George Beetham
2nd: Alexander Hogg
3rd: RS Hawkins
New Electorate
Walter Buchanan
2nd: Henry Bunny
Held by HS Fitzherbert
Henry Fitzherbert
2nd: Thomas Mason
Wellington South and Suburbs
New Electorate
Charles Izard
2nd: J Coombe
Held by A Newman
Alfred Newman
2nd: William McLean
Te Aro
Held by CJ Johnston
Andrew Stuart-Menteath
2nd: Francis Humphris Fraser
Wellington East
New Electorate
George Fisher
2nd: Robertson
3rd: T Carter
Held by H Levestam
Henry Levestam
2nd: Jesse Piper
3rd: WB Gibbs
New Electorate
Arthur Seymour
2nd: Joseph Harkness
3rd: Charles H. Mills
Held by R Hursthouse
John Kerr
2nd: Richmond Hursthouse
Held by EJ O'Conor
Eugene O'Conor
2nd: John Munro
Held by H Dodson
Henry Dodson
2nd: George Henderson
3rd: Sutherland John Macalister [9]
Held by AA Stuart-Menteath
Richard Reeves
Held by AR Guinness
Arthur Guinness
2nd: Joseph Petrie
Held by R Seddon
Richard Seddon
Held by J Bevan
Joseph Grimmond
2nd: John Bevan
Held by JD Lance
James Lance
2nd: J Macfarlane
Held by WF Pearson
William Pearson
2nd: RL Higgins
3rd: JM Verrall
Held by E Richardson
Edward Richardson
2nd: Richard Moore
Held by L Harper
Edwin Blake
2nd: Edward George Wright
New Electorate
Andrew Loughrey
2nd: William Flesher
3rd: Daniel Reese
4th: JT Partridge
Held by F Jones
Frederic Jones
2nd: JH Hopkins
St Albans
Held By FJ Garrick
William Reeves
2nd: Francis James Garrick
Christchurch North
Held by J Vogel
Julius Vogel
2nd: H Roberts
Christchurch South
Held by J Holmes
Westby Perceval
2nd: A Ayers
3rd: H Thomson
4th: E George
Held by RM Taylor
Richard Taylor
2nd: John Crewes
Held by H Allwright
John Joyce
2nd: H Allwright
Held by W Montgomery
Alexander McGregor
2nd: William Barnett
3rd: George Armstrong
4th: George Russell Joblin
5th: Frederick Arthur Anson
6th: John Edward Thacker
Held by AP O'Callaghan
Arthur O'Callaghan
2nd: Alfred Saunders
3rd: John Davies Gilbert Enys
Held by E Wakefield
John Hall
2nd: John McLachlan
Held by WC Walker
William Campbell Walker
2nd: Charles Purnell
New Electorate
Searby Buxton
2nd: William Rolleston
3rd: William Palmer
Held by R Turnbull
Richard Turnbull
2nd: Edward George Kerr
Held by JH Sutter
Arthur Rhodes
2nd: Jeremiah Twomey
3rd: F Franks
Held by WJ Steward
William Steward
2nd: John Manchester
3rd: Charles G Clarke
Held by TY Duncan
Thomas Duncan
2nd: John Reid
Held by TW Hislop
Thomas Hislop
2nd: William Henry Frith [11]
3rd: John Church
New Electorate
John McKenzie
2nd: John Buckland
Dunedin West
Held by WD Stewart
William Stewart
2nd: Thomas Dick
Port Chalmers
Held by J Mills
James Mills
2nd: James Green
Dunedin East
Held by R Stout
James Allen
2nd: Robert Stout
Dunedin Central
Held by T Bracken
Frederick Fitchett
2nd: Edward Cargill
Dunedin South
Held by J Gore
Henry Fish
2nd: James Gore
Held by AH Ross
Archibald Hilson Ross
2nd: William Hutchinson
3rd: Walter Carlton
Held by W Larnach
William Larnach
2nd: Thomas Begg [12]
Held by W Barron
William Barron
2nd: Robert Rutherford
Held by J Fulton
James Fulton
2nd: W Carncross
Mount Ida
Held by S Mackenzie
Scobie Mackenzie
2nd: Owen Hodge
Held by D Reid
Crawford Anderson
2nd: Donald Reid
Held by J Brown
James Brown
2nd: James Bennet
Held by V Pyke
Vincent Pyke
Held by JW Thomson
Thomas Mackenzie
2nd: James William Thomson
New electorate
Hugh Valentine
2nd: Francis Wallace Mackenzie
3rd: FS Canning
Held by GF Richardson
George Richardson
2nd: James Mackintosh [13]
Held by C Cowan
Cuthbert Cowan
2nd: Alfred Baldey
Held by T Fergus
Thomas Fergus
Held by H Hirst
Samuel Hodgkinson
2nd: Henry Hirst
3rd: John McIntyre
4th: Theophilus Daniel
Held by J Hatch
Henry Feldwick
2nd: Henry Jaggers
3rd: Joseph Hatch
4th: Cyril Tanner
5th: John Walker Mitchell
Held by James Parker Joyce
Joseph Ward
2nd: George Froggart
3rd: James Walker Bain
Northern Maori
Held by W Katene
Sydney Taiwhanga [14]
2nd: Wi Katene
3rd: Peotipi
4th: Kereraru
5th: Tomoro Kingi
6th: Aratapu
Eastern Maori
Held by W Pere
James Carroll [14] [15]
2nd: Wi Pere
3rd: Alfred Warbrick
4th: Kereraru
Western Maori
Held by H Taipua
Hoani Taipua
Southern Maori
Held by T Parata
Tame Parata [16] [17]
2nd: Thomas Ellison
3rd: Kahu
4th: Hone Taare Tikao


  1. "THE GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS". No. 6043. Star. 27 September 1887. p. 2. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  2. "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  3. Wilson 1985, p. 286.
  4. 1 2 McRobie 1989, p. 51.
  5. McRobie 1989, pp. 50–53.
  6. "Summary of the Results". No. 6868. Press. 28 September 1887. p. 5. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  7. "The General Election, 1887". National Library. 1887. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  8. "City West". Auckland Star . Vol. XVIII, no. 219. 19 September 1887. p. 5. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  9. Cyclopedia Company Limited (1906). "Mr. Sutherland John Maclister". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts. Christchurch. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  10. "Christchurch South". The Star . No. 6034. 16 September 1887. p. 2. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  11. Cyclopedia Company Limited (1905). "Flourmillers, Grocers, Etc". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Otago & Southland Provincial Districts. Christchurch: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand . Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  12. "Election Notes". Otago Daily Times . No. 7972. 9 September 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  13. Cyclopedia Company Limited (1905). "Old Colonists". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Otago & Southland Provincial Districts. Christchurch: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand . Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  14. 1 2 "Maori Electorates". Hawera & Normanby Star. Vol. IX, no. 1724. 9 September 1887. p. 2. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  15. "Election News". Ashburton Guardian . Vol. VII, no. 1638. 17 August 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  16. "The Maori Members". The Press . Vol. XLIV, no. 6861. 20 September 1887. p. 6. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  17. "The Southern Native Member". The Press . Vol. XLIV, no. 6856. 14 September 1887. p. 6. Retrieved 16 January 2014.

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