Colony of New Zealand

Last updated

Colony of New Zealand

1841–1907
Flag of New Zealand.svg
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Flag 1902–1907 (top)
1841–1902 (bottom)
Motto: " Dieu et mon droit "
"God and my right"
Anthem: "God Save the Queen/King"
New Zealand (orthographic projection) 2.svg
StatusColony of the United Kingdom
Capital Old Russell (1841)
Auckland
(1841–1865)
Wellington
(1865–1907)
Common languagesEnglish, Māori
Government Crown colony (1841–1852)
Self-governing colony (1852–1907)
Monarch 
 1841–1901
Victoria
 1901–1907
Edward VII
Governor 
 1841–1842
William Hobson (first)
 1904–1907
William Plunket (last)
Premier 
 1856
Henry Sewell (first)
 1906–1907
Joseph Ward (last)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly1
 Upper chamber
Legislative Council
 Lower chamber
House of Representatives
Historical era Victorian era
 Separation from Colony of New South Wales
1 July 1841
30 June 1852
 Dominion status
26 September 1907
Currency New Zealand pound
ISO 3166 code NZ
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Colony of New South Wales
Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand.svg United Tribes of New Zealand
Dominion of New Zealand Flag of New Zealand.svg
1. The General Assembly first sat in 1854, under the provisions of the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852.

The Colony of New Zealand was a British colony that existed in New Zealand from 1841 to 1907, created as a Crown colony. The power of the British Government was vested in the governor of New Zealand, but the colony was granted self-government in 1852. The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 was passed and the first parliament was elected in 1853; the first responsible government was formed in 1856. The Colony of New Zealand had three capitals: Old Russell (1841), Auckland (1841–1865), and Wellington (after 1865). In 1907, the colony became the Dominion of New Zealand with a more explicit recognition of self-government within the British Empire.

Contents

Establishment

William Hobson, the first Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi WilliamHobsonGovNZ.jpg
William Hobson, the first Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi

Following the proclamation of sovereignty over New Zealand from Sydney in January 1840, Captain William Hobson came to New Zealand and issued the same proclamation on 1 February 1840. [1] The Treaty of Waitangi was subsequently signed on 6 February 1840, William Hobson declaring British sovereignty over the islands of New Zealand on 21 May 1840 in two separate formal declarations. In the first declaration, Hobson declared British sovereignty over the North Island. The basis for the claim over the North Island was the Treaty of Waitangi between the Māori and the British Crown. In the English version of the treaty, Māori ceded sovereignty in return for the rights, privileges and protection of being a British subject. However, the Māori translation of the treaty referred to kawanatanga which is generally translated as governance rather than sovereignty and this point remains a subject of much controversy and political debate. [2] In the second declaration, Hobson declared British sovereignty over the South Island and Stewart Island on the basis of "first discovery" by Captain James Cook in 1769.

Initially, New Zealand was part of the Colony of New South Wales, and Lieutenant-Governor Hobson was answerable to his superior, the Governor of New South Wales. [3] By letters patent, the British Government issued the Charter for Erecting the Colony of New Zealand on 16 November 1840. [3] The Charter stated that the Colony of New Zealand would be established as a Crown colony separate from New South Wales on 1 July 1841. [3]

Crown colony

The provinces of New Zealand, as they were originally established, in 1841, with the creation of the colony Provinces of new zealand 1841.PNG
The provinces of New Zealand, as they were originally established, in 1841, with the creation of the colony

With the establishment of the Crown colony, Hobson became Governor of New Zealand. The first organs of the New Zealand Government were also established to assist the Governor: an Executive Council and a legislative council. [4]

The Executive Council consisted of the attorney-general, colonial secretary, and colonial treasurer. The Legislative Council consisted of the governor, Executive Council, and three justices of the peace appointed by the governor. [4] The Legislative Council had the power to issue Ordinances, statutory instruments. [5]

The colony was divided into three provinces: New Ulster Province (the North Island), New Munster Province (the South Island), and New Leinster Province (Stewart Island).

Self-governing colony

1899 map of the Colony of New Zealand and its counties (1899) MAP OF NEW ZEALAND - comp. by Irvine.jpg
1899 map of the Colony of New Zealand and its counties

As new European settlements were founded in the colony, demands for self-government became louder. The New Zealand Company settlement of Port Nicholson (Wellington) had its own elected council, which was forcibly dissolved by Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson in 1840. [6] Later, Wellington became the centre of agitation by settlers for representative government led by Samuel Revans, who founded the Wellington Settlers' Constitutional Association in 1848. [7]

The first New Zealand Constitution Act was passed in 1846, though Governor George Grey was opposed to provisions that would divide the country into European and Māori districts. As a result, almost all of the Act was suspended for six years pending a new Act of 1852, with the only operative part of the 1846 Act being the creation of New Zealand's first provinces. In the meantime, Grey drafted his own Act which established both provincial and central representative assemblies, and allowed for Māori districts [8] and an elected governor. The latter proposal was rejected by the Parliament of the United Kingdom when it adopted Grey's constitution.

1851 population estimates

The six provinces formed in 1853 were Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago, though in 1858 New Plymouth was renamed Taranaki.

District / SettlementMalesFemalesTotalPercent
Auckland
     Auckland 5,2824,1489,43035.3%
     Windsor (near Auckland)
     Bay of Islands
     Hokianga
     Smaller settlements
New Plymouth 8456871,5325.7%
Wellington 3,6132,7966,40924.0%
New Ulster 9,7407,63117,37165.0%
Nelson 2,3171,9704,28716.1%
Canterbury
     Akaroa 1,9651,3083,27312.3%
     Rest of province
Otago 1,0137631,7766.6%
New Munster 2,9782,0719,33635.0%
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Colony of New Zealand15,03511,67226,707100.0%
Source: Dominion Committee [9] Blue Books [10] [11]

1852 Constitution Act

The second New Zealand Constitution Act was passed in 1852 and became the central constitutional document of the colony. It created the General Assembly, which consisted of the Legislative Council and an elected House of Representatives. [12] The first general election for the House of Representatives was held on between 14 July and 1 October 1853. The 1st New Zealand Parliament was opened on 24 May 1854. [13] The Administrator of Government, Robert Wynyard, was quickly confronted by the demands of the new parliament that responsible government be granted to the colony immediately; on 2 June the House of Representatives passed a resolution, sponsored by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, to that effect. Wynyard refused, stating that the Colonial Office made no mention of responsible government in its dispatches. The Executive Council advised Wynyard against implementing responsible government, and in the meantime he sent a dispatch to London requesting clarification. Wynyard then offered to add some elected members of parliament to the Executive Council, and appointed James FitzGerald, Henry Sewell and Frederick Weld to the council. The compromise worked for a few weeks but on 1 August parliament demanded complete power to appoint ministers. Wynyard refused, and all three MPs resigned from the council. In response, Wynyard prorogued parliament for two weeks. On 31 August, he appointed Thomas Forsaith, Jerningham Wakefield and James Macandrew to the Executive Council, but when parliament met again, it moved a motion of no confidence in the members.

Parliament met on 8 August 1855, by which time Wynyard had received instructions from the Colonial Office to introduce responsible government. The new governor, Sir Thomas Gore Browne, arrived on 6 September 1855 and relieved Wynyard of his duties. [14] On 28 January 1858, Wynyard was appointed to the Legislative Council. [15]

Governor Thomas Gore Browne subsequently announced that self-government would begin with the 2nd New Zealand Parliament, elected in 1855. [16] Henry Sewell was asked by the governor to form a government, now known as the Sewell Ministry. He became colonial secretary—effectively the first Premier of New Zealand—on 7 May. [17] Sewell's government was short-lived, however. The leader of the provincialist (pro-provinces) faction, William Fox, defeated Sewell's government on 20 May 1856. [18] Fox himself, however, did not retain office for long, being defeated by Edward Stafford, a moderate.

Elevation to Dominion

In 1907, Edward VII declared New Zealand to be a Dominion. King-Edward-VII (crp ret).jpg
In 1907, Edward VII declared New Zealand to be a Dominion.

The Colony of New Zealand continued until 26 September 1907, when, as a result of a decision by the 1907 Imperial Conference and by request of the New Zealand government, King Edward VII declared New Zealand to be a Dominion. On the same day, the King issued another Royal Proclamation granting the Colony of Newfoundland the status of Dominion of Newfoundland. The 1907 change from Colony to Dominion was largely symbolic, and New Zealand did not become independent until the General Assembly of New Zealand enacted the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947, which applied the Statute of Westminster 1931 to the Dominion of New Zealand (although the United Kingdom retained the right to legislate for New Zealand at its request); certain colonial enactments survived for sometime after—the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 was finally replaced by the Constitution Act 1986.

Royal Proclamation

A Royal Proclamation granting New Zealand Dominion status was issued on 26 September 1907.

It read – "Edward R. & I. Whereas We have on the Petition of the Members of the Legislative Council and House of Representatives of Our Colony of New Zealand determined that the title of Dominion of New Zealand shall be substituted for that of the Colony of New Zealand as the designation of the said Colony, We have therefore by and with the advice of Our Privy Council thought fit to issue this Our Royal Proclamation and We do ordain, declare and command that on and after the twenty-sixth day of September, one thousand nine hundred and seven, the said Colony of New Zealand and the territory belonging thereto shall be called and known by the title of the Dominion of New Zealand. And We hereby give Our Commands to all Public Departments accordingly. Given at Our Court at Buckingham Palace, this ninth day of September, in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and seven, and in the seventh year of Our Reign. God save the King." [19]

Symbols

The first flag used by the Colony of New Zealand was the British Union Flag. This began to change with the Colonial Naval Defence Act 1865, which required all ships owned by colonial governments to fly the defaced Royal Navy blue ensign with a colonial badge. New Zealand did not have a colonial badge, or indeed a coat of arms of its own at this stage, and so the letters "NZ" were added to the blue ensign. [20] The Colony New Zealand used the same royal coat of arms as the United Kingdom.

In 1869, Albert Hastings Markham, a first lieutenant on the Royal Navy vessel HMS Blanche, submitted a national ensign design to Sir George Bowen, the Governor of New Zealand. [21] It was initially used only on government ships, but was adopted as the de facto national flag in a surge of patriotism arising from the Second Boer War in 1902. To end confusion between the various designs of the flag, the Liberal Government passed the Ensign and Code Signals Bill, which was approved by King Edward VII on 24 March 1902, [22] declaring the flag as New Zealand's national flag.

See also

Related Research Articles

Treaty of Waitangi Treaty between representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs

The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and Māori chiefs (rangatira) from the North Island of New Zealand. It has become a document of central importance to the history, to the political constitution of the state, and to the national mythos of New Zealand, and has played a major role in framing the political relations between New Zealand's government and the Māori population, especially from the late-20th century.

William Hobson First Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi

Captain William Hobson was a British Royal Navy officer who served as the first Governor of New Zealand. He was a co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi.

New Zealand Parliament legislative body of New Zealand

The New Zealand Parliament is the legislature of New Zealand, consisting of the Queen of New Zealand (Queen-in-Parliament) and the New Zealand House of Representatives. The Queen is usually represented by her governor-general. Before 1951, there was an upper chamber, the New Zealand Legislative Council. The New Zealand Parliament was established in 1854 and is one of the oldest continuously functioning legislatures in the world. It has met in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, since 1865.

Dominion of New Zealand former dominion of the British Empire

The Dominion of New Zealand was the historical successor to the Colony of New Zealand. It was a constitutional monarchy with a high level of self-government within the British Empire.

New Zealand Legislative Council Upper House of the Parliament of New Zealand (1841 - 1951)

The New Zealand Legislative Council existed from 1841 until 1951. When New Zealand became a colony in 1841 the Legislative Council was established as the country's first legislature; it was reconstituted as the upper house of a bicameral legislature when New Zealand became self-governing in 1852.

New Munster Province

New Munster was an early original European name for the South Island of New Zealand, given by the Governor of New Zealand, Captain William Hobson, in honour of Munster, the Irish province in which he was born.

Constitution of New Zealand Uncodified national constitution

The constitution of New Zealand is the sum of laws and principles that determine the political governance of New Zealand. Unlike many other nations, New Zealand has no single constitutional document. It is an uncodified constitution, sometimes referred to as an "unwritten constitution", although the New Zealand constitution is in fact an amalgamation of written and unwritten sources. The Constitution Act 1986 has a central role, alongside a collection of other statutes, orders in Council, letters patent, decisions of the courts, principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and unwritten traditions and conventions. There is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and law considered "constitutional law". In most cases the New Zealand Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing acts of Parliament, and thus has the power to change or abolish elements of the constitution. There are some exceptions to this though – the Electoral Act 1993 requires certain provisions can only be amended following a referendum.

Governor-General of New Zealand Representative of the monarch of New Zealand

The Governor-General of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and lives in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her New Zealand prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out her constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand.

Robert Wynyard British politician

Robert Henry Wynyard was a New Zealand colonial administrator, serving at various times as Lieutenant Governor of New Ulster Province, Administrator of the Government, and was the first Superintendent of Auckland Province.

Independence of New Zealand Independence of New Zealand

The independence of New Zealand is a matter of continued academic and social debate. New Zealand has no fixed date of independence; instead, political independence came about as a result of New Zealand's evolving constitutional status. The concept of a national "Independence Day" does not exist in New Zealand.

New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 Statute of the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that granted self-government to the Colony of New Zealand. It was the second such Act, the previous 1846 Act not having been fully implemented.

Flag of the governor-general of New Zealand

The flag of the governor-general of New Zealand is an official flag of New Zealand and is flown continuously on buildings and other locations when a governor-general is present. The flag in its present form was adopted in 2008 and is a blue field with the shield of the New Zealand coat of arms royally crowned. The official heraldic description is "A flag of a blue field thereon the Arms of New Zealand ensigned by the Royal Crown all proper".

The New Zealand Constitution Act 1846 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to grant self-government to the Colony of New Zealand, but it was never fully implemented. The Act's long title was An Act to make further Provision for the Government of the New Zealand Islands, and it received the royal assent on 28 August 1846.

William Swainson became the second, and last, Attorney-General of the Crown colony of New Zealand and instrumental in setting up the legal system of New Zealand. He was the first Speaker of the New Zealand Legislative Council.

The following lists events that happened during 1853 in New Zealand.

South Island nationalism

South Island nationalism refers to a nationalist movement in the South Island of New Zealand. This political viewpoint is not widely held – in the 1999 election the NZ South Island Party received 2,622 votes, 0.14% of the total. Another South Island Party attempted to gain the 500 financial members necessary to contest the 2008 election, but chose not to register.

1856 Sewell Ministry

The Sewell Ministry was the first responsible government in New Zealand. Unlike previous executives, its members were held accountable to Parliament. This would form the basis for future governments in New Zealand.

Capital of New Zealand

Wellington has been the capital of New Zealand since 1865. New Zealand's first capital city was Old Russell (Okiato) in 1840–41. Auckland was the second capital from 1841 until 1865, when Parliament was permanently moved to Wellington after an argument that persisted for a decade. As the members of parliament could not agree on the location of a more central capital, Wellington was decided on by three Australian commissioners.

George Samuel Evans, was a barrister, editor and politician in New Zealand and colonial Australia. one of the earliest English settlers in New Zealand and for some time a Minister of the Crown in the Colony of Victoria.

James Coates was a prominent pioneer settler of Auckland New Zealand. He was also a senior official within the administration of the newly-established colony of New Zealand, following the proclamation of sovereignty by William Hobson and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

References

  1. Before Hobson. T Simpson. Blythwood Press. Wellington. 2015.
  2. "Differences between the texts – Read the Treaty". NZ History. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 Moon, Paul (2010). New Zealand Birth Certificates – 50 of New Zealand's Founding Documents. AUT Media. ISBN   9780958299718.
  4. 1 2 "Crown colony era – the Governor-General". 30 August 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  5. "NO. 21. – CHARTER FOR ERECTING THE COLONY OF NEW ZEALAND, AND FOR CREATING AND ESTABLISHING A LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL AND AN EXECUTIVE COUNCIL, AND FOR GRANTING CERTAIN POWERS AND AUTHORITIES TO THE GOVERNOR FOR THE TIME BEING OF THE SAID COLONY". Victoria University of Wellington . Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  6. Simpson, K. A. "Hobson, William". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  7. Coleridge, Kathleen A. "Samuel Revans". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  8. "Constitution Act 1852 – English Version". 30 June 1852. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  9. DOMINION POPULATION COMMITTEE (REPORTS OF THE) (Mr. James Thorn, Chairman)
  10. Blue Books: Statistics Information 1840 – 1855 Archives New Zealand Download: Archived 25 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine New Munster population | (Page 133)
  11. Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand By New Zealand. Parliament. House of Representatives
  12. Wilson, John (March 2009). "Government and nation – The constitution [See Pages 2 and 3]". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  13. Gavin McLean (2006), The Governors, Otago University Press, p. 50
  14. Rogers, Frank. "Wynyard, Robert Henry". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  15. Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. p. 88.
  16. McIntyre, W. David. "Sewell, Henry". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  17. McIntyre, W. David. "FitzGerald, James Edward". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  18. Scholefield 1950, p. 31.
  19. See Proclamation of the Dominion of New Zealand (London, 9 September 1907), archived on WikiSource
  20. Volker Preuß. "Flagge Neuseeland" (in German). Retrieved 7 September 2003.
  21. "Rear-Admiral Sir Albert Hastings Markham, Norfolk Museums and Archeology Service". Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
  22. "New Zealand Signalling Ensign" (in Italian). rbvex.it. Retrieved 20 August 2004.

Sources