1893 New Zealand general election

The New Zealand general election of 1893 was held on 28 November and 20 December in the European and Māori electorates, respectively, to elect 74 MPs to the 12th session of the New Zealand Parliament. The election was won by the Liberal Party, and Richard Seddon became Prime Minister.

1893 general election

← 1890 28 November (general) & 20 December (Māori) 1893 1896 →

All 74 seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives
38 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Richard Seddon, 1906.jpg William Rolleston (cropped).jpg
Leader Richard Seddon William Rolleston
Party Liberal Conservative
Leader since 28 April 1893 31 August 1891
Leader's seat Westland Halswell (lost seat)
Last election 40 seats, 56.1% 25 seats, 28.9%
Seats won 51 13
Seat change Increase 11 Decrease 12
Popular vote 175,814 74,482
Percentage 57.8% 24.5%
Swing Increase 1.7% Decrease 4.5%

1893 New Zealand general election - Results.svg
Results of the election.

Prime Minister before election

Richard Seddon

Prime Minister after election

Richard Seddon

1893 was the year universal suffrage was granted to women over 21 (including Māori), plural registration was abolished, plural voting for Māori property-owners was abolished, and only those whose descent was exactly half Māori were allowed to choose whether to vote in European or Māori electorates. Women's suffrage was the most consequential change.

1892 electoral redistributionEdit

The previous electoral redistribution was undertaken in 1890 for the 1890 election. The 1891 New Zealand census was the first to automatically trigger an electoral redistribution, which was undertaken in 1892. The population drift to the North Island resulted in the transfer of one electorate from the south to the north. Only three electorates remained with unaltered boundaries: Thames, Wairarapa, and Timaru.[1] 14 new electorates were established, and of those, eight electorates were established for the first time: Bay of Plenty, Otaki, Pareora, Patea, Riccarton, Waiapu, Waimea-Sounds, and Wellington Suburbs. The remaining six electorates had existed before, and they were re-established for the 12th Parliament: Caversham, Chalmers, Lyttelton, Rangitata, Waihemo, and Waipa.[2]

Women's suffrageEdit

Kate Sheppard National Memorial in Christchurch adjacent to Our City. The figures shown from left to right are Amey Daldy, Kate Sheppard, Ada Wells and Harriet Morison

By far the most notable change for the 1893 election was that the Electoral Act, 1893, extended the franchise to all women (including Māori) aged 21 and over.[3] Women's suffrage was granted after about two decades of campaigning by women such as Kate Sheppard and Mary Ann Müller and organisations such as the New Zealand branch of the Women's Christian Temperance Union led by Anne Ward.[4] Of countries presently independent, New Zealand was the first to give women the vote in modern times.[5] John Hall, a Conservative politician and former premier, received most of the credit for pushing the legislation through Parliament; he is the only male who has his name inscribed on the Kate Sheppard National Memorial.[5] There were only 10 weeks between the passage of the legislation and the election, and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) set about to enrol as many women as possible.[4]

The bill had passed under the Liberal government which generally advocated social and political reform, but only due to a combination of personality issues and political accident. Seddon opposed it (unlike many other Liberals) because many women supported prohibition. He had expected to stop the bill in the upper house, but found that one more vote was needed. Thomas Kelly, a new Liberal Party councillor had left himself paired in favour of the measure, but Seddon obtained his consent by wire to change his vote. Seddon's manipulation so incensed two opposition councillors, William Reynolds and Edward Stevens that they changed sides and voted for the bill, which was passed by 20 votes to 18 so giving the vote to women.[6] Both the Liberals and the Conservatives subsequently claimed credit for sponsoring the enfranchisement of women and both sought to acquire women's votes, although the Liberals benefitted more.[7]

The electionEdit

The 1893 election was held on Tuesday, 28 November in the general electorates, and on Wednesday, 20 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 74 MPs to the 12th Parliament.[8][9]

A total number of 302,997 (75.3%) voters turned out to vote.[10] 65% of all eligible New Zealand women voted in the 1893 election.[4] In 3 seats there was only one candidate.[11] 31 and 39 electorates were in the North Island and South Island, respectively, plus the 4 Māori electorates.[12]


An 1893 cartoon depicting William Rolleston urging women to vote for the Conservative Party to whom they "owe the franchise".

Party totalsEdit

The following table gives party strengths and vote distribution according to Wilson (1985), who records Maori representatives as Independents prior to the 1905 election.[13]

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
Liberal 103 175,814 57.80% 51 +11
Conservative 55 74,482 24.49% 13 -12
Independent 49 53,880 17.71% 10 +1
Total 207 302,997 74

Votes summaryEdit

Popular Vote
Liberal and Liberal-Labour
Parliament seats

Electorate resultsEdit

The following is a table of electorate results by electorate. Key

 Liberal    Conservative    Liberal–Labour    Independent Liberal    Independent  

Electorate results for the 1893 New Zealand general election[14][15][16]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Edward George Wright John McLachlan 26 Cathcart Wason
Ashley Richard Meredith 590 David Duncan Macfarlane
Auckland, City of John Shera George Grey 2,233 Thomas Tudehope[nb 1][17]
Thomas Thompson William Crowther 438
Alfred Cadman Charles Button 68
Avon Edwin Blake William Tanner 653 George McIntyre
Awarua Joseph Ward Uncontested
Bay of Islands Robert Houston 231 James Trounsen[18]
Bay of Plenty New electorate William Kelly 209 Henry Burton[19]
Bruce James Allen Uncontested
Buller Eugene O'Conor Roderick McKenzie 213 Eugene O'Conor
Caversham New electorate Arthur Morrison 136 William Barron
Chalmers New electorate John A. Millar 119 Edmund Allen
Christchurch, City of William Pember Reeves 1,848 Ebenezer Sandford[nb 2]
Ebenezer Sandford George Smith 916
Richard Molesworth Taylor William Whitehouse Collins 281
Clutha Thomas Mackenzie 832 James Burgh[20]
Dunedin, City of David Pinkerton 1,294 Henry Fish[nb 3]
Henry Fish William Earnshaw 589
William Hutchison 294
Eden Edwin Mitchelson 1,161 Malcolm Niccol[21]
Egmont Felix McGuire 135 Benjamin Robbins
Ellesmere John Hall William Montgomery 293 William Rolleston
Franklin Ebenezer Hamlin Benjamin Harris 89 William Massey
Grey Arthur Guinness 1,723 Richard Nancarrow
Hawke's Bay William Russell 70 Charles William Reardon[22]
Inangahua Robert Stout Patrick O'Regan 204 William Goodwin Collings
Invercargill James Whyte Kelly 1,242 Joseph Hatch
Kaiapoi Richard Moore David Buddo 87 Richard Moore
Lyttelton New electorate John Joyce 1,041 Edwin Blake
Manukau Frank Buckland Maurice O'Rorke 252 Frank Buckland
Marsden Robert Thompson[nb 4] 1,010 James Harrison[18]
Masterton Alexander Hogg 1,228 Joseph Harkness
Mataura George Richardson Robert McNab 119 George Richardson
Napier George Henry Swan Samuel Carnell 520 George Henry Swan
Nelson Joseph Harkness John Graham 279 Richmond Hursthouse
New Plymouth Edward Smith 491 Robert Trimble
Oamaru Thomas Duncan 416 PB Fraser
Otaki New electorate James Wilson 195 Donald Fraser[23]
Palmerston James Wilson Frederick Pirani 203 George Matthew Snelson[24]
Pareora New electorate Frederick Flatman 217 Arthur Rhodes
Parnell Frank Lawry 334 William Shepherd Allen
Patea New electorate George Hutchison 673 William Cowern
Rangitata New electorate William Maslin 67 Edward George Wright
Rangitikei Robert Bruce John Stevens 176 Frank Lethbridge
Riccarton New electorate George Warren Russell 106 William Boag
Selwyn Alfred Saunders 232 Thomas Hamilton Anson
Taieri Walter Carncross 76 John Buckland
Thames James McGowan 311 Edmund Taylor
Timaru William Hall-Jones 407 Edward George Kerr
Tuapeka Hugh Valentine Vincent Pyke 340 Charles Rawlins
Waihemo New electorate John McKenzie 324 Scobie Mackenzie
Waiapu New electorate James Carroll 497 Cecil de Lautour
Waikato Edward Lake Alfred Cadman 75 Isaac Coates[15]
Waikouaiti James Green 510 George J. Bruce[25]
Waimea-Sounds New electorate Charles H. Mills 333 H Everett
Waipa New electorate Frederic Lang 989 Gerald Peacock[26]
Waipawa William Smith Charles Hall 378 George Hunter
Wairarapa Walter Clarke Buchanan 690 George Augustus Fairbrother[27]
Wairau Lindsay Buick 322 William Sinclair
Waitaki John McKenzie William Steward 1,062 Thomas Paterson[28]
Waitemata Jackson Palmer Richard Monk 239 Jackson Palmer
Wakatipu Thomas Fergus William Fraser 326 John O'Meara
Wallace James Mackintosh 433 Henry Hirst
Wanganui Archibald Willis 197 Gilbert Carson
Wellington, City of John Duthie Kennedy Macdonald
George Fisher Francis Bell
William McLean Sir Robert Stout
Wellington Suburbs New electorate Alfred Newman 124 Thomas Wilford
Westland Richard Seddon Uncontested
Māori electorates[nb 5]
Eastern Maori James Carroll Wi Pere 1,399 Hoani Paraone Tunuiarangi
Northern Maori Eparaima Te Mutu Kapa Hone Heke Ngapua 507 Eparaima Te Mutu Kapa
Southern Maori Tame Parata 185 Teoti Pita Mutu
Western Maori Hoani Taipua Ropata Te Ao 90 Pepene Eketone

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ Majority is difference in votes to fourth candidate
  2. ^ Majority is difference in votes to fourth candidate
  3. ^ Majority is difference in votes to fourth candidate
  4. ^ Robert Thompson was an Independent in the previous Parliament
  5. ^ The affiliation of many of the Māori candidates is unknown or uncertain


  1. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 55–60.
  2. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 59f.
  3. ^ McRobie 1989, p. 59.
  4. ^ a b c Malcolm, Tessa K. "Sheppard, Katherine Wilson". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  5. ^ a b "One giant leap for womankind". The New Zealand Herald. 13 November 2013. pp. F24–F25. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  6. ^ Women's Suffrage in New Zealand by Patricia Grimshaw, p 92. (1972, Auckland University Press)
  7. ^ Brooking 1988, pp. 104.
  8. ^ "The General Election, 1893". National Library. 1894. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  9. ^ "The general Election". Otago Daily Times. 23 December 1893. p. 2. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  10. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  11. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 286.
  12. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 173.
  13. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 287–289.
  14. ^ "The General Election, 1893". National Library. 1894. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  15. ^ a b "The General Election". Otago Daily Times. 28 November 1893. p. 6. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  16. ^ "General Election". Pelorus Guardian and Miners' Advocate. 4 (91). 1 December 1893. p. 2. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Electorate City of Auckland". Auckland Star. XXIV (273). 17 November 1893. p. 3. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Page 4 Advertisements Column 3". The Northern Advocate. 25 November 1893. p. 4. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Public Notice". Bay of Plenty Times. 20 November 1893. p. 5. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  20. ^ "Political News". Tuapeka Times. XXV (4049). 11 November 1893. p. 3. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  21. ^ Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : A–L (PDF). I. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. p. 124. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  22. ^ "Hawke's Bay Electorate". Hawke's Bay Herald. XXVIII (9544). 2 December 1893. p. 3. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  23. ^ "The Otaki Election". Manawatu Herald. 16 November 1893. p. 3. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  24. ^ "The Palmerston Election". Feilding Star. XV (125). 25 November 1893. p. 3. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Waikouaiti Electoral District". Otago Daily Times (9901). 21 November 1893. p. 3. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  26. ^ "The General Elections". The Press. L (8651). 28 November 1893. p. 6. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  27. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "Borough Of Carterton". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  28. ^ "The Oamaru Mail". The Oamaru Mail. XVIII (5804). 28 November 1893. p. 2. Retrieved 23 August 2016.


  • McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
  • Brooking, Tom (1988). Milestones: Turning Points in New Zealand History. Lower Hutt: Mills Publications. ISBN 0-908722-30-3.

External linksEdit