Thomas Thompson (New Zealand politician)

Last updated

The Honourable
Thomas Thompson
Thomas Thompson, 1884.jpg
15th Minister of Justice
In office
2 March 1896 23 January 1900
Preceded by William Hall-Jones
Succeeded by James McGowan
Personal details
Born 1832
Died 21 January 1919
New Zealand
Political party Liberal Party

Thomas Thompson (1832 – 21 January 1919) was a New Zealand politician of the Liberal Party.

The New Zealand Liberal Party was the first organised political party in New Zealand. It governed from 1891 until 1912. The Liberal strategy was to create a large class of small land-owning farmers who supported Liberal ideals, by buying large tracts of Māori land and selling it to small farmers on credit. The Liberal Government also established the basis of the later welfare state, with old age pensions, developed a system for settling industrial disputes, which was accepted by both employers and trade unions. In 1893 it extended voting rights to women, making New Zealand the first country in the world to enact universal female suffrage.



Early life and career

Thompson was born in Ireland in 1832 where he was entered the grocery trade as a merchant. In 1853 he shifted to Australia during the gold rush in Victoria. Then he moved to Auckland in the 1860s and carried on a grocery business there. [1]

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

During the New Zealand Wars Thompson saw service with the volunteers in 1863. He received a commission as a lieutenant in 1867. [2]

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.

In local matters Thompson served as a member of the Road Board, Domain Board and School Committee of Mount Eden. In 1878 he was elected a member of Auckland City Council, retaining his seat until 1884, also representing the Council on the Auckland Harbour Board. [2]

Mount Eden mountain and suburb of Auckland

Mount Eden is a suburb in Auckland, New Zealand whose name honours George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland. It is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) south of the Central Business District (CBD). Mt Eden Road winds its way around the side of Mount Eden Domain and continues to weave back and forth as it descends into the valley; it runs south from Eden Terrace to Three Kings. Mt Eden village centre is located roughly between Valley Road and Grange Road. The domain is accessible on foot from many of the surrounding streets, and by vehicle from Mt Eden Road. The central focus of the suburb is Maungawhau / Mount Eden, a dormant volcano whose summit is the highest natural point on the Auckland isthmus.

Auckland City Council

Auckland City Council was the local government authority for Auckland City, New Zealand, from 1871 to 1 November 2010, when it and Auckland's six other city and district councils were amalgamated to form the Auckland Council. It was an elected body representing the 404,658 residents of the city, which included some of the Hauraki Gulf islands, such as Waiheke Island and Great Barrier Island. It was chaired by the Mayor of Auckland City.

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1884 1887 9th Auckland North Independent
1887 1890 10th Auckland North Independent
1890 1893 11th City of Auckland Liberal
1895 1896 12th City of Auckland Liberal
1896 1899 13th City of Auckland Liberal

He represented the Auckland North electorate from 1884 to 1890, then the City of Auckland electorate from 1890 to 1899, when he retired. [3]

Auckland North was a parliamentary electorate in Auckland, New Zealand from 1881 to 1890.

Auckland was a New Zealand electorate. It covered the core of Auckland during the early days of New Zealand democracy, when the city was small enough to be covered by two or three seats.

He was Minister of Justice from 2 March 1896 to 23 January 1900 and Minister of Defence from 22 June 1896 to 23 January 1900 in the Liberal Government. [4]

Minister of Justice (New Zealand) Minister of Justice in New Zealand

The Minister of Justice is a minister in the government of New Zealand. The minister has responsibility for the formulation of justice policy and for the administration of law courts.

Minister of Defence (New Zealand) minister in the government of New Zealand

The Minister of Defence is a minister in the government of New Zealand with responsibility for the New Zealand armed forces and the Ministry of Defence.

Liberal Government of New Zealand

The Liberal Government of New Zealand was the first responsible government in New Zealand politics organised along party lines. The government formed following the founding of the Liberal Party and took office on 24 January 1891, and governed New Zealand for over 21 years until 10 July 1912. To date, it is the longest-serving government in New Zealand's history. The government was also historically notable for enacting significant social and economic changes, such as the Old Age Pensions Act and women's suffrage. One historian described the policies of the government as "a revolution in the relationship between the government and the people".

He was appointed to the Legislative Council on 18 March 1903 and his appointment was renewed on 18 March 1910; his term ended on 17 March 1917. [5]

Later life and death

Thompson died in Mount Eden, Auckland, on 21 January 1919, [2] and was buried at Purewa Cemetery. [6]


  1. Hamer 1988, p. 367.
  2. 1 2 3 "Passing of old colonist". Auckland Star. 22 January 1919. p. 6. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  3. Wilson 1985, p. 240.
  4. Wilson 1985, p. 73.
  5. Wilson 1985, p. 165.
  6. "Burial and cremation details". Purewa Cemetery & Crematorium. Retrieved 22 January 2016.

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Political offices
Preceded by
William Hall-Jones
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
James McGowan