Thames (New Zealand electorate)

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Thames is a former New Zealand electorate, in the Thames-Coromandel District. It existed from 1871 to 1946.



The electorate is based on the town of Thames. At times, it covered the Coromandel Peninsula.


The electorate existed from 1871 to 1946. At times, it was a multi-member electorate. It was represented by ten Members of Parliament. [1]

Charles O'Neill was the first representative, elected in the 1871 general election. He represented the electorate until the end of the term in December 1875. [2]

Thames was then converted into a two-member electorate. George Grey stood for both the City of Auckland West and the Thames electorates in the 1875 general election. In the two-member Auckland electorate, only Grey and Patrick Dignan were put forward as candidates, and were thus declared elected on 22 December 1875. [3] The Thames electorate was contested by six candidates, including Julius Vogel (who was Premier in 1875), William Rowe and Charles Featherstone Mitchell. On election day (6 January 1876), Grey attracted the highest number of votes and unexpectedly, Rowe beat Vogel to second place (Vogel also stood in a second electorate – Wanganui, where he was returned). Hence Grey and Rowe were declared elected for Thames. [4] A protest against Grey's election was lodged with the returning officer the following day, stating that Grey had not been eligible to stand for election in Thames, as he had already been elected in Auckland West. This petition was filed to the House of Representatives at the end of January. [5]

With this controversy going on for several months, but being unresolved, Grey advised in mid June 1876 in a series of telegrams that he had chosen to represent Auckland West. [6] On 8 July, the report of the committee inquiring into Sir George Grey's election for the Thames was read to the House. It was found that his election to the Thames electorate was in accordance with the law, but that he had to make a decision which electorate he would represent. [7] On 15 July 1876, Grey announced that he would represent Thames, and he moved that a by-election be held in Auckland West for the seat that he would vacate there. [8]

Rowe retired at the end of the term. The 1879 general election was contested by John Sheehan and George Grey, and they were thus declared elected unopposed. [9]

In 1881, the electorate reverted to be represented by only one member. In the 1881 general election, Grey successfully contested Auckland East. [10] Sheehan was confirmed as the representative for Thames. [11]

In the 1884 general election, Sheehan (unsuccessfully) contested Napier. William Fraser was elected for Thames. Fraser was confirmed again in the 1887 general election. [12]

Edmund Taylor [13] and Alfred Cadman contested the Thames electorate in the 1890 general election. Cadman was successful with a 104 votes majority. [14] He resigned his seat on 11 July 1893. [15]

The resulting 31 July 1893 by-election was unanimously won by James McGowan, and he represented the electorate for many years until his resignation on 6 January 1909, as he was appointed to the Legislative Council. [16]

Taylor, who was unsuccessful in 1890 against Cadman, won the resulting 4 February 1909 by-election. The second ballot electoral system was in place at the time, and required for this by-election. He held the electorate until the end of the parliamentary term in 1911. [17]

Thomas William Rhodes defeated Taylor in the 1911 general election. [18] Rhodes represented the electorate until his retirement in 1928. [19]

In 1919 Mrs Aileen Cooke in Thames was one of three women who stood at short notice when women were able to stand as candidates for election to parliament.

Albert Samuel was first elected in the 1928 general election. He was re-elected in 1931 and retired in 1935. [20]

Jim Thorn was the last representative of Thames. He was first elected in the 1935 general election. His parliamentary career finished in 1946. [21] In the following year, he became High Commissioner to Canada. The Thames electorate was abolished in 1946. [22]

Members of Parliament

Thames was represented by ten Members of Parliament. [1]


  Independent     Liberal     Reform     Labour   

single-member electorate (1st time)

From 1871 to 1875, Thames was represented by one Member of Parliament.

1871 election Charles O'Neill

multi-member electorate

From 1876 to 1881, Thames was a two-member electorate. It was represented by three Members of Parliament:

1876 election William Rowe George Grey
1879 election John Sheehan

single-member electorate (2nd time)

From 1881 to 1946, Thames was a single member electorate again. Sheehan continued his representation, and six other members followed him:

1881 election John Sheehan
1884 election William Fraser
1887 election
1890 election Alfred Cadman
1893 by-election James McGowan
1893 election
1896 election
1899 election
1902 election
1905 election
1908 election
1909 by-election Edmund Taylor
1911 election Thomas William Rhodes
1914 election
1919 election
1922 election
1925 election
1928 election Albert Samuel
1931 election
1935 election Jim Thorn
1938 election
1943 election
(Electorate abolished 1946)

Election results

1943 election

1943 general election: Thames [23] [24]
Labour Jim Thorn 5,534 49.74 -9.61
National William Alexander Clark4,59941.33+1.54
Democratic Labour Balfour Dawson4584.11
People's Movement Reginald Day3122.80
Informal votes1401.25+0.40
Turnout 11,12594.74+1.96
Registered electors 11,742

1938 election

1938 general election: Thames [25]
Labour Jim Thorn 6,965 59.35 +4.65
National William Alexander Clark4,67039.79
Informal votes1000.85+0.12
Turnout 11,73592.78+0.12
Registered electors 12,648

1935 election

1935 general election: Thames [26]
Labour Jim Thorn 5,969 54.70
Reform Albert Samuel 4,70743.13-9.47
Democrat Patrick Keegan2362.16
Informal votes800.73-0.46
Turnout 10,91292.66+8.17
Registered electors 11,776

1931 election

1931 general election: Thames [27]
Reform Albert Samuel 4,702 52.60
Labour John Sommerville Montgomerie [28] 4,23847.40
Informal votes1081.19
Turnout 9,04884.49
Registered electors 10,709

1928 election

1928 general election: Thames [29] [30]
Reform Albert Samuel 4,202 44.60
Labour John Sommerville Montgomerie2,90030.78
United Ernest McGregor2,31924.62
Informal votes860.90
Turnout 9,50788.68
Registered electors 10,720

1909 by-election

1909 Thames by-election: Second ballot [31] [32]
Liberal Edmund Taylor 2,241 55.79
Liberal William Henry Lucas1,77644.21
Turnout 4,017
1909 Thames by-election: First ballot [33]
Liberal Edmund Taylor 1,305 34.44
Liberal William Henry Lucas85322.51
Conservative Ernest Deeble57315.12
Liberal Thomas William Rhodes 56514.91
Conservative Frederick Henry Haselden 49313.01
Turnout 3,789

1899 election

1899 general election: Thames [34] [35]
Liberal James McGowan 2,57354.99+0.93
Liberal Henry Greenslade 1,38929.69
Independent Edmund Taylor 71715.32-30.61
Informal votes711.49+0.30
Turnout 4,75076.17-1.87
Registered electors 6,236

1896 election

1896 general election: Thames [36]
Liberal James McGowan 2,14954.06
Independent Liberal Edmund Taylor 1,82645.94
Informal votes481.19
Registered electors 5,155
Turnout 4,02378.04

1890 election

1890 general election: Thames [37]
Liberal Alfred Cadman 982 52.79
Liberal–Labour Edmund Taylor 87847.20
Turnout 1,86075.60
Registered electors 2,460

1876 election

1876 general election, Thames [38]
Independent Sir George Grey 984 67.53
Independent William Rowe 862 59.16
Independent Sir Julius Vogel 68547.01
Independent C F Mitchell33022.64
Independent C O'Neil261.78
Independent C Cornes201.37
Independent S Stephenson70.48
Turnout 1,457

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