Thomas Russell (New Zealand politician)

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Thomas Russell CMG (c.1830 – 2 September 1904) was a lawyer, politician, businessman and entrepreneur in 19th-century New Zealand. Russell was one of the first two New Zealand-trained lawyers admitted to the bar. He was the founder of a number of major New Zealand-based companies including the Bank of New Zealand and the New Zealand Insurance Co. He served as Minister of Colonial Defence during the New Zealand Wars.

New Zealand Constitutional monarchy in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Bank of New Zealand financial institution

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is one of New Zealand's big four banks and has been operating in the country since the first office was opened in Auckland in October 1861 followed shortly after by the first branch in Dunedin in December 1861. The bank operates a variety of financial services covering retail, business and institutional banking and employs over 5,000 people in New Zealand. In 1992 the bank was purchased by the National Australia Bank and has since then operated as a subsidiary, but it retains local governance with a New Zealand board of directors.

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. 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.


Early life

Russell was born in County Cork, Ireland, probably in 1830. His parents were Thomas Flower Russell (c. 1808-1873) and Mary Roberts (c. 1811-1847). [1] The family emigrated to Australia as steerage passengers in 1833, and settled in Maitland, New South Wales, where his father farmed. [2] In 1840 the family moved on to New Zealand, living in Kororakea at first, then Auckland where his father worked as a builder. From 1844 Thomas Russell was articled to the lawyer Thomas Outhwaite and on 4 November 1851 was admitted as a solicitor on the roll of the Supreme Court of New Zealand. [3] He became Outhwaite's partner and later took over his practice. [4]

County Cork County in the Republic of Ireland

County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is the largest and southernmost county of Ireland, situated in the province of Munster and named after the city of Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. The Cork County Council is the local authority for the county. Its largest market towns are Mallow, Macroom, Midleton, and Skibbereen. In 2016, the county's population was 542,868, making it the third-most populous county in Ireland. Notable Corkonians include Michael Collins, Jack Lynch, and Sonia O'Sullivan.

Maitland, New South Wales City in New South Wales, Australia

Maitland is a city in the Lower Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia and the seat of Maitland City Council, situated on the Hunter River approximately 166 kilometres (103 mi) by road north of Sydney and 35 km (22 mi) north-west of Newcastle. It is on the New England Highway about 17 km (11 mi) from its start at Hexham.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In March 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 7.9 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

On 18 July 1854, Russell married Emeline Vercoe, third daughter of Henry Vercoe JP , at Tautauroa, near Otahuhu. [5]

Otahuhu suburb of Auckland, New Zealand

Otahuhu is a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand - 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) to the southeast of the CBD, on a narrow isthmus between an arm of the Manukau Harbour to the west and the Tamaki River estuary to the east. The isthmus is the narrowest connection between the North Auckland Peninsula and the rest of the North Island, being only some 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) wide at its narrowest point, between the Otahuhu Creek and the Mangere Inlet. As the southernmost suburb of the former Auckland City, it is considered part of South Auckland.


New Zealand Parliament
1861 1866 3rd Auckland City East Independent

Russell was elected as MP for Auckland City East in 1861, holding the electorate until his retirement from politics in 1866. He became a cabinet minister under Alfred Domett in August 1862, and was Minister of Defence in the administration led by Frederick Whitaker and William Fox in 1863–1864. During this time the New Zealand Settlements Act (1863) was passed, facilitating the confiscation of Māori-owned land. [6] [7]

Auckland East was a New Zealand electorate, situated in the east of Auckland. It existed between 1861 and 1887, and again between 1905 and 1946.

Alfred Domett Prime Minister of New Zealand

Alfred Domett, was an English colonial statesman and poet. He was New Zealand's fourth Premier.

Frederick Whitaker Prime Minister of New Zealand

Sir Frederick Whitaker was an English-born New Zealand politician who served twice as the Prime Minister of New Zealand and six times as Attorney-General.

Russell was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1877. [8]

Order of St Michael and St George series of appointments of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.

After politics

In 1866 he bought the Pah farm in present day Hillsborough. In January 1872, Cyrus Haley, who had a grudge against Russell, attacked the home (later replaced by the Pah Homestead), firing shots into each of the bedrooms. No-one was hurt and Haley was later caught and convicted of attempted murder. [2]

Cyrus Haley was a New Zealand arsonist. He was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England on 22 September 1832 and migrated to Auckland, New Zealand, in 1870.

Pah Homestead

The Pah Homestead is a historic home located in the suburb of Hillsborough in Auckland, New Zealand. It is owned by the Auckland Council, and is currently used as an art gallery, housing the James Wallace Art Trust's collection of New Zealand art. Since opening in August 2010, the gallery has attracted over 410,000 visitors, including 130,000 in its first year

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  1. "Deaths". The New Zealander. 6 November 1847. p. 2. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  2. 1 2 Stone, R.C.J. "Russell, Thomas". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  3. "New solicitors". The New Zealander. 6 December 1851. p. 2. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  4. "Pars about people". Observer. XXIV (52). 10 September 1904. p. 4. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  5. "Married". Daily Southern Cross. 21 July 1854. p. 2. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  6. Stephens, P.R. (1966). "RUSSELL, Thomas". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  7. The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Wellington Provincial District) 1897: The Hon. Thomas Russell
  8. "No. 24464". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 May 1877. p. 3442.