Mid-Canterbury (New Zealand electorate)

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Mid-Canterbury was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate in rural Canterbury. It existed from 1928 to 1946 and was represented by six Members of Parliament, including Mary Grigg, the first woman National Party MP.


Population centres

In the 1927 electoral redistribution, the North Island gained a further electorate from the South Island due to fast population growth. Five electorates were abolished, two former electorates were re-established, and three electorates, including Mid-Canterbury, were created for the first time. These changes came into effect with the 1928 election. [1]


The electorate existed from 1928 to 1946. [2] David Jones was the first representative, winning the 1928 election by a wafer-thin majority of 55 votes (0.59%) against Jeremiah Connolly; [3] he had previously held Kaiapoi and Ellesmere. [4] Jones was defeated by Connolly in the 1931 election. Connolly died on 2 October 1935 and as this was only weeks prior to the 1935 election, the seat remained vacant and no by-election was called. [5]

Horace Herring of the Labour Party won the 1935 election. [6] At the next election in 1938, Herring was narrowly beaten by Arthur Grigg of the National Party. [7] Grigg enlisted in the NZEF as a Major in World War II, and was killed in action in Libya on 29 November 1941. [8] He was succeeded by his widow Mary Grigg at a 1942 by-election; [8] she became the first woman National MP. But in June 1943 she remarried, to another National MP, William Polson, and resigned.

Mary Grigg was succeeded by Geoff Gerard at the 1943 general election. He served until the end of the term in 1946 when the electorate was abolished, and successfully stood in the Ashburton electorate instead. [9]

Members of Parliament


  Reform     Independent Liberal     Labour     National   

1928 election David Jones
1931 election Jeremiah Connolly
1935 election Horace Herring
1938 election Arthur Grigg
1942 by-election Mary Grigg
1943 election Geoff Gerard
(Electorate abolished in 1946; see Ashburton)

Election results

1943 election

1943 general election: Mid-Canterbury [10] [11]
National Geoff Gerard 5,552 50.75
Labour David Barnes 4,91844.96
Democratic Labour Harry Bates3763.43
Informal votes920.84+0.54
Turnout 10,93893.18-1.95
Registered electors 11,738

1942 by-election

1942 Mid-Canterbury by-election: Mid-Canterbury
National Mary Grigg unopposed

1938 election

1938 general election: Mid-Canterbury [12]
National Arthur Grigg 5,504 50.18
Labour Horace Herring 5,43049.50+6.33
Informal votes340.30-0.18
Turnout 10,96895.13+1.30
Registered electors 11,529

1935 election

1935 general election: Mid-Canterbury [13]
Labour Horace Herring 4,422 43.17
Reform James Carr3,96038.66
Democrat William Woods1,86118.16
Informal votes500.48-0.23
Turnout 10,24393.83+4.71
Registered electors 10,916

1931 election

1931 general election: Mid-Canterbury [14]
Independent Liberal Jeremiah Connolly 4,437 47.68 +3.51
Reform David Jones 4,13744.17+2.63
Independent Labour Hiram Hunter 3103.33
Independent Robert Wallace Wightman2582.77+0.19
Informal votes670.71+0.16
Turnout 9,37389.12-3.48
Registered electors 10,517 [15]

1928 election

1928 general election: Mid-Canterbury [3]
Reform David Jones 4,137 44.17
United Jeremiah Connolly 4,08243.58
Labour Morgan Williams 9059.66
Independent Robert Wallace Wightman2422.58
Informal votes520.55
Turnout 9,41892.61
Registered electors 10,170 [15]


  1. McRobie 1989, pp. 83–88.
  2. Scholefield 1950, p. 150.
  3. 1 2 "Mr. Jones Wins". Ellesmere Guardian. XLVI (3275). 23 November 1928. p. 5. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  4. Scholefield 1950, p. 117.
  5. Scholefield 1950, p. 101.
  6. Scholefield 1950, p. 113.
  7. "The Mid-Canterbury Seat". Ellesmere Guardian. LIX (86). 28 October 1938. p. 5. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  8. 1 2 Scholefield 1950, p. 110.
  9. Scholefield 1950, p. 108.
  10. "The General Election, 1943". National Library. 1944. p. 11. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  11. "Public Notices". The Press . LXXIX (24077). 13 October 1943. p. 1. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  12. "The General Election, 1938". National Library. 1939. pp. 1–6. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  13. The General Election, 1935. Government Printer. 1936. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  14. "Public Notices". Ellesmere Guardian. LII (99). 11 December 1931. p. 1. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  15. 1 2 McRobie 1989, p. 88.

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