Thomson Wilson Leys

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Thomson Wilson Leys (23 April 1850 27 September 1924) was a New Zealand journalist, editor, newspaper proprietor and philanthropist. He was born in Sneinton, Nottinghamshire, England on 23 April 1850. [1]

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.

Philanthropy means the love of humanity. A conventional modern definition is "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life", which combines an original humanistic tradition with a social scientific aspect developed in the 20th century. The definition also serves to contrast philanthropy with business endeavors, which are private initiatives for private good, e.g., focusing on material gain, and with government endeavors, which are public initiatives for public good, e.g., focusing on provision of public services. A person who practices philanthropy is called a philanthropist.

Sneinton village and suburb of Nottingham, England

Sneinton is a village and suburb of Nottingham, England. The area is bounded by Nottingham City Centre to the west, Bakersfield to the north, Colwick to the east, and the River Trent to the south. Sneinton now lies within the unitary authority of Nottingham, having been part of Nottinghamshire until 1877.


Early life

Leys was born of Scottish parentage in Nottingham, where his father was Supervisor of Inland Revenue. He was five years a pupil at the People's College, Nottingham, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1863 with his parents, who joined the great Nonconformist movement to establish a special settlement at Albertland, north of Auckland. [2]

Nottingham City and unitary authority area in England

Nottingham is a city and unitary authority area in Nottinghamshire, England, 128 miles (206 km) north of London, 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Birmingham and 56 miles (90 km) southeast of Manchester, in the East Midlands.

Nonconformist Protestant Christians in Wales and England who did not follow the established Church of England

In English church history, a Nonconformist was a Protestant who did not "conform" to the governance and usages of the established Church of England. Broad use of the term was precipitated after the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, when the Act of Uniformity 1662 re-established the opponents of reform within the Church of England. By the late 19th century the term specifically included the Reformed Christians, plus the Baptists and Methodists. The English Dissenters such as the Puritans who violated the Act of Uniformity 1559—typically by practising radical, sometimes separatist, dissent—were retrospectively labelled as Nonconformists.


After arrival in New Zealand, Leys was apprenticed in the printing office of the Southern Cross, the oldest and most influential journal in the colony at that period. Three years later he obtained a transfer to the literary staff as shipping reporter, and in 1870, at the age of twenty, became sub-editor of the Daily Southern Cross and Weekly News, which were then owned by Julius Vogel, Colonial Treasurer. Compelled by ill-health to relinquish night work, he resigned and joined the editorial staff of the Auckland Star, assuming the chief editorship in February 1875, having also acquired a partnership interest in that paper, the New Zealand Farmer, New Zealand Graphic, and the large printing and publishing business connected with those journals. [2]

Julius Vogel 8th Premier of New Zealand

Sir Julius Vogel was the eighth Premier of New Zealand. His administration is best remembered for the issuing of bonds to fund railway construction and other public works. He was the first Jewish prime minister of New Zealand. Historian Warwick R. Armstrong assesses Vogel's strengths and weaknesses:

Vogel's politics were like his nature, imaginative – and occasionally brilliant – but reckless and speculative. He was an excellent policymaker but he needed a strong leader to restrain him....Yet Vogel had vision. He saw New Zealand as a potential 'Britain of the South Seas', strong both in agriculture and in industry, and inhabited by a large and flourishing population.

In the scant leisure which falls to the lot of the editor of a daily newspaper, Mr. Leys did much literary work. He contributed the Auckland section of Sir Julius Vogel's "New Zealand Handbook", edited the "Early History of New Zealand," covering the period from the earliest times to 1845, and also the "Colonist's Guide," a standard textbook for settlers in New Zealand. He has also edited for sixteen years the annual issues of the Auckland Almanack, a valuable compendium of statistical and descriptive matter relating to New Zealand. [2]

Being one of the party formed at Rotorua on the day after the Tarawera eruption to visit Rotomahana and ascertain the condition of the Terraces, Leys wrote a graphic description of that great volcanic outburst, which was published in separate form. Among his minor literary works are a brochure on "The Doctrine of Evolution," in reply to Professor Denton, and notes of a holiday excursion to the South Sea Islands, "The Cruise of the Wairarapa". In 1891 Mr. Leys represented a syndicate of New Zealand journals at the Federation Convention in Sydney. [2]

Rotorua City in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Rotorua is a city on the southern shores of Lake Rotorua from which the city takes its name, located in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is the seat of the Rotorua District, a territorial authority encompassing Rotorua and several other nearby towns. The majority of the Rotorua District is in the Bay of Plenty Region, but a sizeable southern section and a small western section are in the Waikato Region. Rotorua is in the heart of the North Island, 60 kilometres south of Tauranga, 80 km (50 mi) north of Taupo, 105 km (65 mi) east of Hamilton, and 230 km (140 mi) southeast of the nation's most populous city, Auckland.

Leys died on 27 September 1924 in Auckland and was buried at Purewa cemetery. [1]

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  1. 1 2 Mogford, Janice C. "Thomson Wilson Leys". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Mennell,Philip (1892)." Wikisource-logo.svg   Leys, Thomson Wilson".The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.London:Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource