Sir William Fox
Sir William Fox, ca 1890
|2nd Premier of New Zealand|
20 May 1856 –2 June 1856
12 July 1861 – 6 August 1862
28 June 1869 – 10 September 1872
3 March 1873 – 8 April 1873
|Governor|| Thomas Gore Browne |
|Preceded by|| Henry Sewell (1856)|
Edward Stafford (1861)
Edward Stafford (1869)
|Succeeded by||Edward Stafford (1856)|
Alfred Domett (1862)
Edward Stafford (1872)
Julius Vogel (1873)
|Born||2 September 1812|
South Shields, England
|Died||23 June 1893 80) (aged|
Auckland, New Zealand
|Spouse(s)||Sarah Halcomb (m. 1842)|
|Children|| Ngataua Omahuru, renamed William Fox (Jr.) |
|Alma mater||Wadham College, Oxford|
Sir William Fox KCMG (2 September 1812 – 23 June 1893) was the second Premier of New Zealand and held that office on four separate occasions in the 19th century, while New Zealand was still a colony. He was known for his confiscation of Māori land rights, his contributions to the education system (such as establishing the University of New Zealand), and his work to increase New Zealand's autonomy from Britain. He has been described as determined and intelligent, but also as bitter and "too fond" of personal attacks. Different aspects of his personality are emphasised by different accounts, changing mainly due to the reviewers' political beliefs.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 26 October 2017.
The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages some time between 1250 and 1300. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture, with their own language, a rich mythology, and distinctive crafts and performing arts. Early Māori formed tribal groups based on eastern Polynesian social customs and organisation. Horticulture flourished using plants they introduced; later, a prominent warrior culture emerged.
The University of New Zealand was New Zealand's sole degree-granting university from 1874 to 1961. It had a federal structure embracing several constituent institutions at various locations around New Zealand. After it was dissolved in 1961 New Zealand had four independent degree-granting universities and two associated agricultural colleges: the University of Otago (Dunedin), University of Canterbury (Christchurch), University of Auckland (Auckland), Victoria University of Wellington (Wellington), Canterbury Agricultural College (Lincoln) and Massey Agricultural College.
Fox was born on 2 September 1812 at 5 Westoe Village in South Shields, in North East England. His family was a relatively successful one. He was educated initially at Durham School and then at Wadham College, Oxford. His activities for several years after graduating are a mystery: some speculate that he was not in England. In 1838 he studied law in London.
South Shields is a coastal town in the North East of England at the mouth of the River Tyne, about 3.7 miles (6.0 km) downstream from Newcastle upon Tyne. Historically part of County Durham, it became part of Tyne and Wear in 1974. According to the 2011 census, the town had a population of 76,498, the third largest in Tyneside after Newcastle and Gateshead. It is part of the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside which includes the towns of Jarrow and Hebburn. South Shields is represented in Parliament by Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck. The demonym of a person from South Shields is either a Geordie or a Sand dancer.
Durham School is an English independent boarding school for pupils aged between 3 and 18 years. Founded by the Bishop of Durham, Thomas Langley, in 1414, it received royal foundation by King Henry VIII in 1541 following the Dissolution of the Monasteries during the Protestant Reformation. It is the city's oldest institution of learning.
Wadham College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. It is located in the centre of Oxford, at the intersection of Broad Street and Parks Road.
Shortly after qualifying to practice as a lawyer, Fox married Sarah Halcomb. The couple decided that they would emigrate to New Zealand, joining an increasing number of other colonists. Upon his arrival in Wellington Fox's legal qualifications were recognised, but there was little work, and so he supplemented his income by writing for local periodicals. Fox lost the right to practice as a lawyer when, in 1843, he refused to swear an oath that he considered "degrading". This event forced him to focus almost entirely on writing and journalism.
Wellington is the capital and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. Its latitude is 41°17′S, making it the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, and is the world's windiest city by average wind speed.
Initially, Fox was opposed to government negotiations with Māori over land, stating that Māori had a right only to land that they used. He also condemned the colonial government's "weak" response to the killing of Arthur Wakefield, a New Zealand Company official who had attempted to expand the settlement at Nelson into Māori-held lands. Fox's criticism of Governor Robert FitzRoy eventually played a part in FitzRoy's removal from office. In 1843 Fox was chosen by the New Zealand Company as Wakefield's replacement in Nelson.
Captain Arthur Wakefield served with the Royal Navy, before joining his brother, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, in founding the new settlement at Nelson, New Zealand.
The New Zealand Company, chartered in the United Kingdom, was a company that existed in the first half of the 1800s on a business model focused on the systematic colonisation of New Zealand. The company was formed to carry out the principles devised by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who envisaged the creation of a new-model English society in the southern hemisphere. Under Wakefield’s model, the colony would attract capitalists who would then have a ready supply of labour—migrant labourers who could not initially afford to be property owners, but who would have the expectation of one-day buying land with their savings.
Nelson is a city on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay. Nelson is the oldest city in the South Island and the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand – it was established in 1841 and was proclaimed a city by royal charter in 1858.
In Nelson, Fox met with mixed success. There was little direct conflict with the Māori, and most of Fox's work was related to economic development. Poor planning and inaccurate land surveying had left colonists with considerably less than had been promised them, and Fox was responsible for resolving the matter. While many modern historians believe that he did a good job, Fox himself found that even his best efforts were not good enough for the angry colonists. Fox increasingly spent his time leading parties into the wilderness near Nelson, an activity which he seems to have enjoyed. Fox was physically active all through his life.
In 1848, William Wakefield died. As the New Zealand Company's senior officer in the colony, he was Fox's superior. Fox quickly travelled to Wellington, and managed to secure himself Wakefield's position. He accomplished this mainly because of the short distance between Nelson and Wellington, which enabled him to win the position before instructions could be received from other cities. He was not the first choice of the Company's board in London, which preferred Dillon Bell, but his quick action managed to gain him enough support to receive the appointment.
William Hayward Wakefield was an English colonel, the leader of the first colonising expedition to New Zealand and one of the founders of Wellington. In 1826, he married Emily Sidney, a daughter of Sir John Sidney.
Sir Francis Dillon Bell was a New Zealand politician of the late 19th century. He served as New Zealand's third Minister of Finance, and later as its third Speaker of the House. The town of Bell Block near New Plymouth – on land Bell bought from the Puketapu iwi in 1849 – is named after him, as is Bell Street, Whanganui. Bell's son, Francis Henry Dillon Bell, became the first New Zealand born Prime Minister in 1925.
The Company was in decline after the deaths of both Edward and Arthur Wakefield. Fox gradually became less active in the Company, taking more of an interest in the colonial government. He was a strong opponent of Governor George Grey, who was refusing to grant self-government to the settlers. He frequently denounced the administration and the judiciary as corrupt and incompetent.
Edward Gibbon Wakefield is considered a key figure in the early colonisation of South Australia and New Zealand. Despite being imprisoned for three years in 1827 for kidnapping a fifteen-year-old girl, he enjoyed a distinguished political career.
Sir George Grey, KCB was a British soldier, explorer, colonial administrator and writer. He served in a succession of governing positions: Governor of South Australia, twice Governor of New Zealand, Governor of Cape Colony, and the 11th Premier of New Zealand.
In 1851, Fox travelled to London on behalf of a group of Wellington settlers. There he met Edward Gibbon Wakefield, elder brother of William and Arthur. He discussed his ideas about a constitution for New Zealand, strongly supporting self-rule, provincial autonomy, and two elected houses of parliament. He also attempted to meet Earl Grey, the British minister for colonial possessions, but was refused. When a constitution was promulgated the following year it incorporated some of Fox's ideas, but was not satisfactory to him.
|New Zealand Parliament|
Before returning to New Zealand, Fox and his wife spent some time travelling in Canada, the United States, and Cuba. When they returned to New Zealand, the new constitution was in effect, and elections had already been held. In 1855 Fox was elected MP for Wanganui. He fought on a strong platform of provincial autonomy, and was particularly opposed to the government formed the following year by Henry Sewell, who took the newly created office of Premier of New Zealand. Fox managed to oust Sewell from the new post in only 13 days, becoming New Zealand's second Premier. Fox, however, lasted only 13 days himself before being ousted by Edward Stafford. Fox spent the first years of Stafford's premiership in semi-retirement, but later returned to be Stafford's primary opponent in parliament.
Fox appears to have changed his views somewhat regarding Māori land rights, as he strongly opposed the government's policy on that issue. He blamed Stafford's administration, along with Governor Thomas Gore Browne, for the wars in Taranaki, which broke out when a Māori chief refused to sell his land. Fox was widely believed to have converted to support of the Māori, although many modern historians claim that his opposition to land seizure was due to a pragmatic wish to avoid war, not a change of philosophy. Lack of evidence makes it difficult to tell which was the case.
In 1861, Fox successfully proposed a vote of no confidence in Stafford, and took the premiership again. Among the measures introduced were law changes designed to accommodate Māori political structures, a halt on attempts to acquire Māori land, and a less confrontational attitude in existing conflicts. Again, dispute exists as to whether this was motivated by pragmatism or support of Māori rights. His attempts to reduce conflict with Māori were undermined by Governor Grey, who had returned for another term, and was a strong believer in the need to confront Māori militarily. Grey's construction of military infrastructure and his deployment of troops reduced Māori trust of any initiatives by the government.
In 1862, Fox was a passenger on the SS White Swan together with several other senior members of the New Zealand government. The ship was holed by a rock while steaming from Napier to Wellington and began sinking. Captain Allen Harper deliberately ran the ship aground and thereby saved the lives of all those on board.
After becoming increasingly involved in a dispute with Grey over responsibility for policy towards Māori, Fox lost a vote of confidence in 1862. The following year he returned to government, but only as a minister – the premiership went to Frederick Whitaker. Fox appears to have had little to do with the policies of this government, which involved considerable confiscations of land from the Māori. After his term as a minister ended, Fox and his wife travelled in Australia for several years.
Upon returning to New Zealand, Fox was encouraged by the Opposition to return to politics, which was once again dominated by Fox's rival Edward Stafford. Fox was elected to parliament, and relaunched his attack on Stafford's policies on Māori relations and provincial affairs. Fox defeated Stafford in 1869, taking the premiership for the third time. Fox set about reducing military activities, and ceased any major attempts to engage the Māori with force. Increasingly Fox found himself overshadowed by his treasurer, Julius Vogel. Vogel's extensive plans for the development of New Zealand, involving borrowing money to finance public works, soon became the most prominent feature of Fox's government, but had little to do with Fox himself. Eventually, Fox began to abandon his leadership role within the government, and the resulting disunity allowed Stafford to defeat Fox in 1872.
After this, Fox decided that he would not seek further office. His role in politics, however, was not quite over – when George Waterhouse, Stafford's successor, suddenly resigned, Fox was called upon to assume the premiership as a caretaker until a new leader was found. When Vogel returned to New Zealand from an overseas trip Fox stepped down, and Vogel's premiership began.
He was the Member of Parliament for Wanganui and Rangitikei in the second parliament (1855–60), Rangitikei in the third, fourth and fifth parliaments (1861–65, when he resigned; 1868–70; 1871–75, when he resigned), Wanganui in the sixth parliament (1876–79, when he was defeated), and Rangitikei again (1880–81, when he was defeated).
In 1868 at Te Ngutu O Te Manu (Beak of the bird), a battle took place between the forces of the Hah Hau rebel Titokaworu and the Colonial army commanded by Thomas McDonnell. The colonial forces were ambushed and retreated. During the retreat, two Maori scouts found 2 boys about 6. One boy was killed. The Maori scout, Pirimona, gave the other boy to Herewini of the Ngati Te Upokoiri Iwi. The captive was Ngatau Omahuru.
While in Whanganui he came to the attention of the magistrate Walter Buller, who purchased the boy a set of European clothes and boots. The boys picture was taken in these clothes. The Buller family looked after the boy.
He was baptised William Fox in the presence of William Fox senior, then an MP. The boy was taken to Wellington by coach, probably on 25 January 1869. He was housed at the Native Hostelry where visiting Maori lodged, lived there for 3 years, and was educated at a private school called Mowbray's near the hostelry. Three other Maori students – 2 of them the sons of Chief Wi Tako, attended the same school. The adopted son then moved in with the Fox family. According to Maori sources William Junior and Mrs Sarah Fox, who had no children, became very close. He lived with the family until he was about 12.
In 1874 he was enrolled in the new Wellington College where he had a photo taken with the other students and staff on Inauguration Day 1874. In 1875 The Fox family took William Junior on a world tour – San Francisco by paddle steamer, then across the USA and onto Great Britain to visit Fox relatives.
At 16 William junior joined a law firm as a clerk with Buller, Lewis and Gully, where he received about 5 years training. On a trip to the Taranaki area in 1878 he met members of his tribe and a young Maori woman Hinemoa. He met the Maori leaders; Te Whiti and Tohu at Parihaka, and made the decision to live in Taranaki. It appears he was heavily influenced by Te Whiti and Tohu and at some stage had an office in Tohu's meeting house at Parihaka. He set up a Maori school near Parihaka.
Later after the closure of Parihaka he worked as a translator and interpreter in Whanganui and then set up a business in Hawera teaching Maori language. He never married. He corresponded with old soldiers about the Taranaki Wars and died in 1918.
In 1879, Fox was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG). He was appointed a commissioner to inquire into Native Land Titles.Fox was involved in the temperance movement against alcohol). He was a founder of the New Zealand Alliance (for the Abolition of the Liquor Traffic), of which he was the first president, from 1887 to 1893.
He continued to undertake considerable physical exercise, climbing Mount Taranaki in 1892, aged 80. He died in Auckland on 23 June 1893 aged 81.
The town of Foxton, founded in 1885, was named after Sir William.
John Ballance was an Irish-born New Zealand politician who was the 14th Premier of New Zealand, from January 1891 to April 1893, the founder of the Liberal Party, and a Georgist. In 1891 he led his party to its first election victory, forming the first New Zealand government along party lines, but died in office three years later. Ballance supported votes for women and land reform, though at considerable cost to Māori.
The Second Taranaki War is a term used by some historians for the period of hostilities between Māori and the New Zealand Government in the Taranaki district of New Zealand between 1863 and 1866. The term is avoided by some historians, who either describe the conflicts as merely a series of West Coast campaigns that took place between the Taranaki War (1860–1861) and Titokowaru's War (1868–69), or an extension of the First Taranaki War.
Parihaka is a small community in the Taranaki region of New Zealand, located between Mount Taranaki and the Tasman Sea. In the 1870s and 1880s the settlement, then reputed to be the largest Māori village in New Zealand, became the centre of a major campaign of non-violent resistance to European occupation of confiscated land in the area.
Sir Harry Albert Atkinson served as the tenth Premier of New Zealand on four separate occasions in the late 19th century, and was Colonial Treasurer for a total of ten years. He was responsible for guiding the country during a time of economic depression, and was known as a cautious and prudent manager of government finances, though distrusted for some radical policies such as his 1882 National Insurance (welfare) scheme and leasehold land schemes. He also participated in the formation of voluntary military units to fight in the New Zealand Wars, and was noted for his strong belief in the need for seizure of Māori land.
Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke, Māori Chief of the Te Āti Awa Tribe, was leader of the Māori forces in the First Taranaki War.
Sir Edward Stafford served as the third Premier of New Zealand on three occasions in the mid 19th century. His total time in office is the longest of any leader without a political party. He is described as pragmatic, logical, and clear-sighted.
Te Whiti o Rongomai III was a Māori spiritual leader and founder of the village of Parihaka, in New Zealand's Taranaki region.
The Rangitikei District is a territorial authority located primarily in the Manawatu-Whanganui Region in the North Island of New Zealand, although a small part, the town of Ngamatea, lies in the Hawke's Bay Region. It is located in the southwest of the island, and follows the catchment area of the Rangitikei River.
The Pai Mārire movement was a syncretic Māori religion or cult founded in Taranaki by the prophet Te Ua Haumēne. It flourished in the North Island from about 1863 to 1874.
Tohu Kākahi was a Māori leader, a warrior leader in the anti government Hau Hau Movement 1864-66 and later a prophet at Parihaka, who along with Te Whiti o Rongomai organised passive resistance against the occupation of Taranaki in the 1870s in New Zealand.
John Bryce was a New Zealand politician from 1871 to 1891 and Minister of Native Affairs from 1879 to 1884. In his attitudes to Māori land questions, he favoured strict legal actions against Māori opposed to alienation, and he personally directed the invasion of Parihaka and the arrest of the leaders of the movement.
Sir Donald McLean was a 19th-century New Zealand politician and government official. He was involved in negotiations between the settler government and Māori from 1844 to 1861, eventually as Native Secretary and Land Purchase commissioner. He was one of the most influential figures in Māori-Pākehā relations in the mid-1800s and was involved in the dispute over the "Waitara Purchase", which led up to the First Taranaki War.
Waitotara was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate in South Taranaki. It existed from 1881 to 1893, and again from 1978 to 1996. It was represented by four Members of Parliament.
Ngataua Omahuru was a Māori lawyer. He and his family lived in Mawhitiwhiti near Mount Taranaki in New Zealand's North Island.
Wanganui and Rangitikei is a former parliamentary electorate that existed from 1853 to 1860. It was represented by two Members of Parliament.
The 1880 Rangitikei by-election was a by-election held during the 7th New Zealand Parliament in the Rangitikei electorate of the North Island. This was the fourth by-election since the Rangitikei electorate was established for the 1861 election. The previous by-election took place in 1875 and the following one took place in 1892. Sir William Fox, Premier of New Zealand on four occasions, was elected to Parliament for his sixth and final time.
The New Zealand Land Commission was a 19th-century government inquiry into the validity of claims to land purchases by European settlers from the New Zealand Māori people made prior to 1840, when New Zealand was part of the Australian colony of New South Wales. The inquiry was designed to determine who owned what land, in order to formalise and regulate land ownership in the new colony. The commission carried out its work in two distinct sections—a three-man inquiry to examine purchases in general throughout New Zealand, and a one-man inquiry run by English lawyer William Spain to investigate just those purchases claimed by the New Zealand Company. The commissions were to advise the Governor of which claims were accepted, with the expectation that land owners would then be awarded a Crown grant to their property.
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|New Zealand Parliament|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Wanganui |
1876–1879 (serving alongside John Bryce)
Henry Shafto Harrison
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Rangitikei |
William Hogg Watt
William Jarvis Willis
| Premier of New Zealand |
| Attorney-General |