Thomas Renwick

Last updated

Thomas Renwick
Thomas Renwick.jpg
Renwick (year unknown)
Member of the New Zealand Legislative Council
In office
15 October 1863 28 November 1879
Personal details
Dumgree, Dumfries, Scotland
Died28 November 1879
Renwick House ("Newstead"), Nelson
Resting place Wakapuaka Cemetery
Adeline Absolon
(m. 18461860)

Anne Smith
(m. 1872)
ResidenceRenwick House

Dr Thomas Renwick (1818 – 28 November 1879) was an early New Zealand settler in the Nelson and Marlborough regions. He was a member of the New Zealand Legislative Council for 16 years.


Early life

Renwick was born in 1818 in Dumgree, a locality just north of Dumfries in Scotland and not far from Moffat. His parents were Herbert Renwick and Elizabeth Brown, and he had three known elder siblings. [1] He received his medical education in Edinburgh and then practised in Kent, England, for a brief period. [2] He was a ship's doctor on a return journey to India from 1840 to 1841. On 26 May 1842, he sailed as a ship's doctor on the Thomas Harrison to Nelson as part of the New Zealand Company's settlement scheme. [3] They arrived in Nelson on 25 October 1842, with two children having died on the voyage (which is considered a low death rate). [4]

Life in New Zealand

It is believed that Renwick helped the Chinese-born Appo Hocton, who had also arrived on the Thomas Harrison, get off a jail term. Hocton worked as a housekeeper for Renwick during 1843. Renwick established a medical practice in Nelson. From his income, he purchased livestock for farming and financed George Hooper's brewery. On 11 August 1846, he married Adeline Absolon. His wife was wealthy and this allowed Renwick to purchase land in the Awatere Valley in Marlborough. He freeholded 8,500 hectares (21,000 acres) and named his land Dumgree after his birthplace. [3] The name Dumgree is in use for a hill (645 metres or 2,116 feet) and trig station in the Awatere. [5] In 1855, he bought 4,800 hectares (12,000 acres) of land in the Waihopai Valley from the estate of Constantine Dillon. [6]

After his wife had an affair, she moved to London in 1860. Renwick visited her twice in London but she was unwilling to return to New Zealand. They signed a deed of separation. Adeline Renwick died in London in 1870. [3] Renwick married Anne Smith in early 1872. The bought a house named Newstead. After Renwick's death, his wife lived there until 1937. Later, the house became known as Renwick House. Still standing, it is part of Nelson Central School. [3]

Political career

Renwick stood in the 1853 New Zealand provincial elections in the Town of Nelson electorate. Of seven candidates for five available positions, he came second (just one vote behind the winner). [7] He was a member of the Nelson Provincial Council during the first two councils from August 1853 to November 1861. [8] From the beginning, he was advocating for the independence of Marlborough from Nelson and in 1859, the Marlborough Province was split off from the Nelson Province. [3] Renwick did not stand for the third provincial council in May 1862 as he was just about to visit England. [9]

When Renwick returned from his first visit to London, he was appointed to the New Zealand Legislative Council from 15 October 1863 to 28 November 1879, when he died. [10]

Death and commemoration

Renwick died on 28 November 1879 at his home. [11] He is buried at Wakapuaka Cemetery. [3] The town of Renwick in Marlborough is named after him after the land was subdivided from his Waihopai property. [6] [12]

Related Research Articles

Marlborough Region Region of New Zealand

The Marlborough Region, commonly known simply as Marlborough, is one of the regions of New Zealand, located in the northeast of the South Island. Marlborough is a unitary authority, both a region and a district. Marlborough District Council is based at Blenheim, the largest town. The region has a population of 50,200.

Provinces of New Zealand

The provinces of the Colony of New Zealand existed as a form of sub-national government. Initially established in 1846 when New Zealand was a Crown colony without responsible government, two provinces were established. Each province had its own legislative council and Governor. With the passing of the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 the provinces were recreated around the six planned settlements or "colonies". By 1873 the number of provinces had increased to nine, but they had become less isolated from each other and demands for centralised government arose. In 1875 the New Zealand Parliament decided to abolish the provincial governments, and they came to an end in 1876. They were superseded by counties, which were later replaced by territorial authorities.

Charles Elliott (New Zealand politician) New Zealand politician

Charles Elliott was a New Zealand politician and newspaper proprietor.

Nelson Province Provinces of New Zealand

Nelson Province was constituted in 1853 under the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852, and originally covered the entire upper South Island, including all of present-day Buller, Kaikoura, Marlborough, and Tasman districts, along with Nelson City, Grey District north of the Grey River, and the Hurunui District north of the Hurunui River. It was reduced in size by the creation of Marlborough Province in November 1859, then abolished in 1876, along with all the provinces of New Zealand.

Nelson (New Zealand electorate) Current New Zealand electorate

Nelson is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the House of Representatives of New Zealand. From 1853 to 1860, the electorate was called Town of Nelson. From 1860 to 1881, it was City of Nelson. The electorate is the only one that has continuously existed since the 1st Parliament in 1853.

Arthur Seymour (politician)

Arthur Penrose Seymour was a 19th-century New Zealand politician from Picton. He was the 4th Superintendent of the Marlborough Province and was a member of the provincial government for all 16 years of its existence. With his strong advocacy for Picton, he successfully had the Seat of Government moved to Picton. When the Blenheim party secured a majority in the Provincial Council by 1865, Seymour negotiated the removal of the Seat of Government back to Blenheim.

John Parkin Taylor

John Parkin Taylor was a 19th-century New Zealand runholder, and a politician in Otago and Southland. In his early life, Taylor lived in various countries and studied languages in Germany. He worked as a merchant and was married when he returned to England. Taylor's family emigrated to New Zealand in 1849 and he was a sheep farmer in various parts of the South Island before finally settling on a run near Riverton in Southland, where he had his homestead 'Waldeck' built. He entered the House of Representatives for the Dunedin Country electorate through a by-election in 1858 but fell out with many of his constituents over a broken election promise, as he helped the Southland Province to break away from the Otago Province. He eventually became Southland's second Superintendent and served from 1865 to 1869, and also represented an electorate on the Southland Provincial Council for a few months. In 1865, he was appointed to the New Zealand Legislative Council and with one break in membership due to non-attendance, he remained a member until his death. He served for one year as mayor of Riverton (1872–73) but did not stand again due to poor health. Taylor had a painful illness and died in 1875.

Wairau Valley Place in Marlborough, New Zealand

Wairau Valley is the valley of the Wairau River in Marlborough, New Zealand and also the name of the main settlement in the upper valley. State Highway 63 runs through the valley. The valley opens onto the Wairau Plain, where Renwick and Blenheim are sited. The Alpine–Wairau Fault runs along the length of the valley.

Wairau was a parliamentary electorate in the Marlborough Region of New Zealand. It was one of the initial 24 New Zealand electorates and existed from 1853 until its abolition in 1938, when it was succeeded by the Marlborough electorate. The electorate had 13 representatives during its existence. The 1861 election in the Wairau electorate was notable in that a later Premier, Frederick Weld, was unexpectedly and narrowly defeated by William Henry Eyes.

Andrew James Richmond was a 19th-century Member of Parliament in Nelson, New Zealand.

Edward Baigent was a 19th-century Member of Parliament from Nelson, New Zealand. He was one of the most successful saw-millers of the region, and his company existed for well over 100 years.

Joseph Ward was a 19th-century Member of Parliament from Marlborough, New Zealand.

John Perry Robinson

John Perry Robinson was the second Superintendent of the Nelson Province in New Zealand. His election came as a surprise, but he proved so popular that he won two subsequent elections with comfortable majorities. He remained Superintendent until his accidental drowning on the bar of the Buller River.

Mayor of Nelson, New Zealand

The Mayor of Nelson is the head of the municipal government of Nelson, New Zealand, and presides over the Nelson City Council. The mayor is directly elected using a First Past the Post electoral system. The current mayor is Rachel Reese, who was elected in October 2013.

Joseph Dodson

Joseph Reid Dodson JP, was the first Mayor of Nelson in New Zealand from 1874. He was a prominent brewer and Resident Magistrate in Nelson and his sixth generation descendants still operate a brewery in the city.

Dr Ralph Richardson (1812–1897/1898) was a Member of the New Zealand Legislative Council. He lived in New Zealand for less than a decade, and retired to Devon in England, and later to London.

Marlborough Lines Limited Electricity distribution company, based in Blenheim, New Zealand.

Marlborough Lines Limited is an electricity distribution company, based in Blenheim, New Zealand. Marlborough Lines is responsible for subtransmission and distribution of electricity to approximately 25,400 customers in the Marlborough Region over a service area of 11,330 km2 (4,370 sq mi). The network includes approximately 3,400 km (2,100 mi) of power lines extending to some very isolated areas across the region, including the extremities of the Marlborough Sounds, which can only be reached by boat or helicopter.

Mayor of Blenheim

The Mayor of Blenheim officiated over the borough of Blenheim, New Zealand. The office was created in 1869 when Blenheim became a borough, and ceased with the 1989 local government reforms, when Blenheim Borough was amalgamated with Picton Borough and Marlborough County Council to form Marlborough District. There were 31 Mayors of Blenheim. The last Mayor of Blenheim, Leo McKendry, was elected as the first Mayor of Marlborough.

Henry Seymour was one of the earliest settlers in Nelson, New Zealand, where he was a trader and land speculator. He was a member of the Legislative Council of New Munster Province from 1849, and was appointed to the new Legislative Council in 1853 until his resignation in 1860. He returned to England and died in Worcestershire.

Thomas Carter (New Zealand politician)

Thomas "Tom" Carter was the third Superintendent of Marlborough Province. Together with two of his brothers, he was a large runholder.


  1. "Dr Thomas Renwick". Renwick Museum. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  2. "Renwick, Thomas". Marlborough Online. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stronach, Alexander. "Dr Thomas Renwick". The Prow. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  4. "Thomas Harrison". Nelson Provincial Museum . Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  5. "Dumgree". New Zealand Gazetteer. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  6. 1 2 Stephens, Joy. "Early Renwick". The Prow. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  7. "Election of members for the provincial council for the Town of Nelson". Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle. XII (597). 13 August 1853. p. 7. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  8. Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. p. 214.
  9. "New advertisements". Colonist. V (481). 3 June 1862. p. 2. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  10. Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840-1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 162. OCLC   154283103.
  11. "Death". Nelson Evening Mail . XIV (274). 29 November 1879. p. 2. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  12. Reed, A. W. (2010). Peter Dowling (ed.). Place Names of New Zealand. Rosedale, North Shore: Raupo. p. 345. ISBN   9780143204107.