Alfred Ransom

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Sir Alfred Ransom

Sir Ethelbert Alfred Ransom portrait.jpg
Sir Alfred Ransom in ca 1938
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Pahiatua
In office
7 December 1922  22 May 1943
Preceded by Archibald McNicol
Succeeded by Keith Holyoake
Personal details
Born(1868-03-19)19 March 1868
Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Died22 May 1943(1943-05-22) (aged 75)
Dannevirke, New Zealand
Antonette Katinka Sondergaard(m. 1893)
Professionfarmer, saddler

Sir Ethelbert Alfred Ransom KCMG (19 March 1868 – 22 May 1943) was a New Zealand politician of the Liberal Party, then its successor the United Party, and from 1936, the National Party. He was a cabinet minister from 1928 to 1935 in the United Government, and was acting Prime Minister in 1930 and in 1935.

The New Zealand Liberal Party was the first organised political party in New Zealand. It governed from 1891 until 1912. The Liberal strategy was to create a large class of small land-owning farmers who supported Liberal ideals, by buying large tracts of Māori land and selling it to small farmers on credit. The Liberal Government also established the basis of the later welfare state, with old age pensions, developed a system for settling industrial disputes, which was accepted by both employers and trade unions. In 1893 it extended voting rights to women, making New Zealand the first country in the world to enact universal female suffrage.

The United Party of New Zealand, a party formed out of the remnants of the Liberal Party, formed a government between 1928 and 1935, and in 1936 merged with the Reform Party to establish the National Party.

New Zealand National Party Major New Zealand political party

The New Zealand National Party, shortened to National or the Nats, is a centre-right political party in New Zealand. It is one of two major parties that dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the New Zealand Labour Party.


Early life

Ransom was born in 1868 in Lower Hutt. He received his education at Lower Hutt Primary, [1] where he was school mate with Thomas Wilford. [2] He played rugby and tennis during his youth. During the Second Boer War, he was an officer in charge of the Ruahine Mounted Rifles. [2] He was a sheep farmer until 1888, and then a saddler in Dannevirke. [1] From 1920 onwards, he was sheep farming in the Akitio district. [2]

Lower Hutt Place in Wellington, New Zealand

Lower Hutt is a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Administered by the Hutt City Council, it is one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington metropolitan area.

Thomas Wilford New Zealand politician

Sir Thomas Mason Wilford was a New Zealand politician. He held the seats of Wellington Suburbs then Hutt continuously for thirty years, from 1899 to 1929. Wilford was leader of the New Zealand Liberal Party, and Leader of the Opposition from 1920 to 1925.

Second Boer War war between South African Republic and the United Kingdom

The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought them to terms.

He held numerous public offices: he was chairman of the Hawke's Bay War Relief Association, chairman of the Dannevirke branch of the same organisation, chairman of the power board (until 1928), the first president of the local chamber of commerce, chairman of the fire board, member of the Dannevirke High School board, member of the executive of the Farmers' Union, and represented on the Dannevirke A&P Association. [1] [2]

On 1 March 1893, Ransom married Antonette Katinka Sondergaard from Palmerston North at her home town. [3] They lost an infant daughter and a son in 1902 and 1905, respectively. [4] [5]

Palmerston North Metropolitan area in North Island, New Zealand

Palmerston North is a city in the North Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Manawatu-Wanganui region. Located in the eastern Manawatu Plains, the city is near the north bank of the Manawatu River, 35 km (22 mi) from the river's mouth, and 12 km (7 mi) from the end of the Manawatu Gorge, about 140 km (87 mi) north of the capital, Wellington. Palmerston North is the country's seventh-largest city and eighth-largest urban area, with an urban population of 86,600.

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
1922 1925 21st Pahiatua Liberal
1925 1928 22nd Pahiatua Liberal
1928Changed allegiance to: United
1928 1931 23rd Pahiatua United
1931 1935 24th Pahiatua United
1935 1936 25th Pahiatua United
19361938Changed allegiance to: National
1938 1943 26th Pahiatua National

Ransom was elected onto the Dannevirke Borough Council in 1901. [6] He stood for Mayor of Dannevirke in 1903, but was beaten by the Lutheran pastor Hans Madsen Ries in a closely fought contest. [7] [8] Ransom was Mayor of Dannevirke from 1910, when he succeeded Ries, to 1919. [1] [7]

Lutheranism branch of Protestantism based on the teachings of Martin Luther

Lutheranism is a major branch of western Christianity that identifies with the teaching of Martin Luther, a 16th century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation. The reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity.

Hans Madsen Ries was a New Zealand Lutheran pastor, farmer, businessman and local politician. He was born in Stenderup, Denmark in 1860. He was first elected as Mayor of Dannevirke in 1903, narrowly beating Alfred Ransom. He did not stand again in 1905, but was incensed by criticism of his leadership in the following year that he stood again and defeated the incumbent. He retired from the mayoralty in 1910, when he was succeeded by Ransom.

He represented the rural Manawatu-Wanganui electorate of Pahiatua from 1922, when he defeated Reform's Archibald McNicol. [9]

Manawatu-Wanganui Region of New Zealand in North Island

Manawatu-Wanganui is a region in the lower half of the North Island of New Zealand, whose main population centres are the cities of Palmerston North and Whanganui. It is administered by the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council, which for trading purposes is known as Horizons Regional Council.

Pahiatua is a former New Zealand parliamentary electorate in the Wairarapa region. It existed from 1896 to 1996, and was represented by nine Members of Parliament, including Prime Minister Keith Holyoake for 34 years.

1922 New Zealand general election Election in New Zealand

The New Zealand general election of 1922 was held on Monday, 6 December in the Māori electorates, and on Tuesday, 7 December in the general electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 21st session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 700,111 (87.7%) voters turned out to vote. In one seat there was only one candidate.

From 1926 to 1928, he was senior whip and deputy leader of the United Party for the North Island. [2] [10] During the time of the United Government, he was Minister of Public Works (1928–1930) under Joseph Ward, and Minister of Lands and Commissioner of State Forests (1930–1931) under George Forbes. [11] He retained his portfolios until 1935 in the United/Reform Coalition. [12] He was twice acting Prime Minister; in 1930, when Forbes attended the Imperial Conference in London, and again in 1935, when Forbes was overseas. [2]

In 1940, he announced that he would not stand again at the next general election due to poor health, [2] but he died in 1943 before the end of the parliamentary term. [13]

Later life

In 1935, Ransom was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal, [14] and he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George. [13] He died on 22 May 1943 in Dannevirke, where he is also buried. [2] At the funeral, senior whip Walter Broadfoot represented the National Party, and Prime Minister Peter Fraser represented the First Labour Government. [15] Ransom was survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. [16] His wife died in 1952. [17]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Gustafson 1986, p. 339.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Obituary". The Evening Post . CXXXV (120). 22 May 1943. p. 6. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  3. "Marriage". Bush Advocate. IX (747). 2 March 1893. p. 3. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  4. "Death". Bush Advocate. XIV (17). 19 April 1902. p. 2. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  5. "Death". Bush Advocate. XVII (74). 30 March 1905. p. 4. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  6. "Borough of Dannevirke : Election of Councillors". Bush Advocate. XII (1998). 25 April 1901. p. 3. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  7. 1 2 McGibbon, Ian. "Hans Madsen Ries – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  8. "Borough of Dannevirke : Annual Election of Mayor, 1903". Bush Advocate. XIV (333). 30 April 1903. p. 3. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  9. Wilson 1985, pp. 217, 228.
  10. Wilson 1985, p. 280.
  11. Wilson 1985, p. 80.
  12. Wilson 1985, p. 81.
  13. 1 2 Wilson 1985, p. 228.
  14. "Official jubilee medals". Evening Post . CXIX (105). 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  15. "Last Respects Paid". Auckland Star . LXXIV (123). 26 May 1943. p. 4. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  16. "Ex-Ministers' Deaths". Auckland Star . LXXIV (120). 22 May 1943. p. 6. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  17. "Death Search". Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 17 November 2012. Search for 'Antonette Katinka' and 'Ransom'

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New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Archibald McNicol
Member of Parliament for Pahiatua
Succeeded by
Keith Holyoake
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sydney George Smith
Senior Whip of the Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Alfred Murdoch