Frederick Whitaker

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Sir Frederick Whitaker

Frederick Whitaker, ca 1870s.jpg
Frederick Whitaker, ca 1870s
5th Premier of New Zealand
In office
30 October 1863 24 November 1864
21 April 1882 – 25 September 1883
Monarch Victoria
Governor George Grey
Arthur Hamilton-Gordon
William Jervois
Preceded by Alfred Domett (1863)
John Hall (1882)
Succeeded by Frederick Weld (1864)
Harry Atkinson (1883)
Constituency Legislative Council
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Parnell
In office
1866  1867
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Waikato
In office
1876  1879
2nd Speaker of the Legislative Council
In office
1855–1856
Preceded by William Swainson
Succeeded by Thomas Bartley
1st Attorney-General
In office
7 May 1856 20 May 1856
In office
2 June 1856 12 July 1861
Personal details
Born(1812-04-23)23 April 1812
Bampton, Oxfordshire, England
Died4 December 1891(1891-12-04) (aged 79)
Auckland, New Zealand
Resting placeSt Stephen's Cemetery, Parnell, New Zealand
Political party Independent
Spouse(s)
Augusta Griffith
(m. 1843;died 1884)
Children8, including:
Frederick Alexander Whitaker
ParentsFrederick Whitaker
Susanna Humfrey

Sir Frederick Whitaker KCMG (23 April 1812 – 4 December 1891) was an English-born New Zealand politician who served twice as the Prime Minister of New Zealand and six times as Attorney-General.

Prime Minister of New Zealand head of the New Zealand government

The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 26 October 2017.

Attorney-General (New Zealand) political office in New Zealand

The Attorney-General is a political and legal officer in New Zealand. The Attorney-General is simultaneously a ministerial position and the chief law officer of the Crown, and has responsibility for supervising New Zealand law and advising the government on legal matters. The Attorney-General serves both a political and apolitical function. The current Attorney-General is David Parker.

Contents

Early life

Whitaker was born at the Deanery Manor House, Bampton, Oxfordshire, England on 23 April 1812, the son of Frederick Whitaker and Susanna Whitaker (née Humfrey). Frederick junior undertook a legal education and became a solicitor and attorney at the age of 27. A year later he sailed to Australia and then New Zealand. [1] He married Jane Augusta Griffith, stepdaughter of Alexander Shepherd (Colonial Treasurer) at St. Paul's Church in Auckland on 4 March 1843. [1]

Manor house country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor

A manor house was historically the main residence of the lord of the manor. The house formed the administrative centre of a manor in the European feudal system; within its great hall were held the lord's manorial courts, communal meals with manorial tenants and great banquets. The term is today loosely applied to various country houses, frequently dating from the late medieval era, which formerly housed the gentry.

Bampton, Oxfordshire village and civil parish in West Oxfordshire, England

Bampton, also called Bampton-in-the-Bush, is a settlement and civil parish in the Thames Valley about 4 12 miles (7 km) southwest of Witney in Oxfordshire. The parish includes the hamlet of Weald. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 2,564.

Alexander Shepherd was the second Colonial Treasurer of New Zealand.

Whitaker lived in Auckland and was appointed a County Court judge until this position was abolished in 1844, at which time he returned to work as a lawyer. He was appointed to the General Legislative Council on 3 March 1845 until 22 December of that year. [2] He was then appointed to the Legislative Council of New Ulster Province, but that Council had not met when the new Constitution arrived. [3] He transferred to the new Legislative Council on 26 May 1853 and remained a member until his resignation on 19 December 1864. He was again appointed on 8 October 1879 and remained a member until his death 12 years later. [4] He also served as a major in the militia.

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

The Legislative Council of New Zealand 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 Ulster Province

New Ulster was a province of the Colony of New Zealand that existed between 1841 and 1853. It was named after the Irish province of Ulster.

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.

He was elected onto the Auckland Provincial Council on 19 October 1854 for the Suburbs of Auckland electorate, and he served until 25 September 1855. [5] He was appointed to the Auckland Executive Council from 14 March 1854 to 22 January 1855 and was the provincial law officer. [6]

Attorney-General

Whitaker became the first Attorney-General of New Zealand in the Sewell Ministry led by Henry Sewell in 1856. He did not serve as Attorney-General in the subsequent Fox Ministry that was in power for a fortnight, but was again appointed to this position in the Stafford Ministry from 2 June 1856 onwards. He served as Attorney-General until the defeat of the Stafford Ministry on 12 July 1861 and went back to the law. [7] In October 1863 Whitaker was called upon to form a government to replace Premier Domett following his defeat at a vote of no-confidence. [8]

Sewell Ministry, 1856

The Sewell Ministry was the first responsible government in New Zealand. It formed in 1856, but lasted only one month, from 18 April to 20 May. From 7 May onwards, Henry Sewell was Colonial Secretary, considered to be the equivalent of Prime Minister. Thus, Sewell became the first Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Henry Sewell 19th-century New Zealand politician

Henry Sewell was a prominent 19th-century New Zealand politician. He was a notable campaigner for New Zealand self-government, and is generally regarded as having been the country's first Premier, having led the Sewell Ministry in 1856. He later served as Colonial Treasurer (1856–59), as Attorney-General (1861–62), and twice as Minister of Justice.

The Fox Ministry was the second responsible government to be formed in New Zealand. It formed in 1856, but lasted less than a month, from 20 May to 2 June 1856. From the outset, William Fox served as Prime Minister as well as Attorney-General.

First Premiership

Whitaker's term as Premier lasted just over a year until November 1864. His term ended due to differences between himself and Governor Grey over the conduct of the New Zealand Wars. Whitaker also resigned as a member of the Legislative Council. He served briefly as the member of Parliament for Parnell from 1866 to 1867.

New Zealand Wars 1845–1872 armed conflicts in New Zealand

The New Zealand Wars were a series of armed conflicts that took place in New Zealand from 1845 to 1872 between the New Zealand government and the Māori people. Until at least the 1980s, European New Zealanders referred to them as the Māori wars; the historian James Belich was one of the first to refer to them as the "New Zealand wars", in his 1987 book The New Zealand wars and the Victorian interpretation of racial conflict.

Parnell was a parliamentary electorate in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, from 1861 to 1954, with one break of eight years.

In October 1865 he was elected Superintendent of Auckland Province, which office he held until 1867. Then for nine years he stayed away from public office.

Second Premiership

New Zealand Parliament
YearsTermElectorateParty
1866 1867 4th Parnell Independent
1876 1879 6th Waikato Independent

In 1876 he became MP for Waikato and later Attorney-General again in Atkinson's government; the Atkinson Ministry lasted until October 1877. Whitaker lost his seat in the House in 1879, when he was defeated for Eden. However, when Premier Hall wanted him to serve as Attorney-General again, he was appointed once more to the Legislative Council in 1879. When Hall resigned in April 1882, Whitaker became Premier for the second time, serving until September 1883.

Whitaker was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1884 and served again as Attorney-General, and as leader of the Legislative Council from 1887 to 1890. By then his health was failing, and he died in Auckland on 4 December 1891. He was buried at St Stephen's Cemetery in Parnell. [9]

Notes

  1. 1 2 Stone, R. C. J. "Whitaker, Frederick - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  2. Scholefield 1950, p. 17.
  3. Scholefield 1950, p. 18.
  4. Scholefield 1950, p. 87.
  5. Scholefield 1950, p. 186.
  6. Scholefield 1950, p. 181.
  7. Scholefield 1950, pp. 31–32.
  8. Scholefield 1950, pp. 33.
  9. "Imposing funeral cortege". Auckland Star. 7 December 2015. p. 3. Retrieved 14 May 2015.

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References

Government offices
Preceded by
Alfred Domett
Premier of New Zealand
18631864
Succeeded by
Frederick Weld
Political offices
Preceded by
William Swainson
Speaker of the New Zealand Legislative Council
1855–1856
Succeeded by
Thomas Bartley
New office Attorney-General
1856
18561861
1863–1864
1876–1877
1882–1883
1887–1891
Succeeded by
William Fox
Preceded by
William Fox
Succeeded by
William Fox
Preceded by
Henry Sewell
Succeeded by
Henry Sewell
Preceded by
James Prendergast
Succeeded by
Robert Stout
Preceded by
Robert Stout
Succeeded by
Henry Sewell
Preceded by
Edward Conolly
Succeeded by
Patrick Buckley
Preceded by
Robert Graham
Superintendent of Auckland Province
18651867
Succeeded by
John Williamson
Preceded by
George McLean
Postmaster-General
and Commissioner of Telegraphs

1876
Succeeded by
John Davies Ormond
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Robert Creighton
Member of Parliament for Parnell
1866–1867
Succeeded by
Charles Heaphy
Preceded by
William Jackson
Member of Parliament for Waikato
1876–1879
Succeeded by
John Blair Whyte