2nd New Zealand Parliament

The 2nd New Zealand Parliament was a term of the Parliament of New Zealand. It opened on 15 April 1856, following New Zealand's 1855 election. It was dissolved on 5 November 1860 in preparation for 1860–61 election. The 2nd Parliament was the first under which New Zealand had responsible government, meaning that unlike previously, the Cabinet was chosen (although not officially appointed) by Parliament rather than by the Governor.

2nd Parliament of New Zealand
1st Parliament 3rd Parliament
Legislative bodyNew Zealand Parliament
Term15 April 1856 – 5 November 1860
Election1855 New Zealand general election
GovernmentSewell ministry (until 1856)
First Fox ministry (1856)
First Stafford ministry (from 1856)
House of Representatives
Speaker of the HouseSir Charles Clifford
Colonial SecretaryEdward Stafford
— from 2 June 1856
William Fox
— 20 May – 2 June 1856
Henry Sewell
— until 20 May 1856
Legislative Council
Members13 (at start)
19 (at end)
Speaker of the CouncilThomas Bartley
Frederick Whitaker until 12 May 1856
MonarchHM Queen Victoria
GovernorHE Rt. Hon Colonel Thomas Browne

Historical contextEdit

At this time political parties had not been established (they were not established until after the 1890 election), meaning that anyone attempting to form an administration had to win support directly from individual MPs. This made forming (and retaining) a government difficult. The Sewell Ministry, the first responsible government, led by Henry Sewell, lasted only two weeks. The first Fox Ministry, the second responsible government, led by William Fox, also lasted only two weeks. The third responsible government, the first Stafford Ministry, led by Edward Stafford, was more stable, governing for the remainder of the 2nd Parliament and for the beginning of the 3rd.

Parliamentary sessionsEdit

Parliament sat for three sessions:[1]

Session from to
First 15 Apr 1856 16 Aug 1856
Second 10 Aug 1858 21 Aug 1858
Third 30 Jul 1860 5 Nov 1860

Electoral boundaries for the 2nd ParliamentEdit

The 2nd Parliament, which initially used the same electoral boundaries as the 1st Parliament, consisted of thirty-seven representatives representing twenty-four electorates. Two regions of the colony (the inland regions of the lower North Island and the north-west corner of the South Island) were not part of any electorate, and so were not represented.


The 1858 Amendment changed the boundaries to:

Initial composition of the 2nd ParliamentEdit

Member Electorate Province MP's term Election date
John Cuff Akaroa Canterbury First 28 December[2]
John Logan Campbell City of Auckland Auckland First 27 October[3]
Thomas Beckham City of Auckland Auckland First 27 October[4]
William Daldy City of Auckland Auckland First 27 October[2]
Frederick Merriman Auckland Suburbs Auckland Second 27 October[5]
Walter Brodie Auckland Suburbs Auckland First 27 October[6]
Hugh Carleton Bay of Islands Auckland Second 24 November[3]
Dingley Brittin Christchurch Country Canterbury First 20 December[6]
John Hall Christchurch Country Canterbury First 20 December[7]
Henry Sewell Town of Christchurch Canterbury Second 18 December[8]
John Cargill Dunedin Country Otago Second 11 December[3]
William Cargill Dunedin Country Otago First 11 December[3]
James Macandrew Town of Dunedin Otago Second 11 December[9]
Charles Brown Grey and Bell New Plymouth First 8 November[6]
Alfred Ludlam Hutt Wellington Second 16 November[10]
Dillon Bell Hutt Wellington First 16 November[4]
James FitzGerald Town of Lyttelton Canterbury Second 21 December[11]
Charles Parker Motueka and Massacre Bay Nelson First 8 November[12]
Alfred Domett Town of Nelson Nelson First 12 November[13]
Edward Stafford Town of Nelson Nelson First 12 November[14]
William Richmond Town of New Plymouth New Plymouth First 5 November[15]
Thomas Henderson Northern Division Auckland First 27 October[16]
Walter Lee Northern Division Auckland Second 27 October[10]
Alfred East Omata New Plymouth First 10 November[13]
John Williamson Pensioner Settlements Auckland First 27 October[17]
Joseph Greenwood Pensioner Settlements Auckland Second 27 October[18]
Charles Taylor Southern Division Auckland Second 26 October[19]
Robert Graham Southern Division Auckland First 26 October[18]
Charles Elliott Waimea Nelson First 5 November[20]
William Travers Waimea Nelson Second 5 November[20]
John Smith Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay Wellington First 26 November[21]
William Wells Wairau Nelson First 19 November[22]
William Fox Wanganui and Rangitikei Wellington First 27 November[23]
Charles Clifford City of Wellington Wellington Second 13 November[24]
Isaac Featherston City of Wellington Wellington Second 13 November[25]
William Fitzherbert City of Wellington Wellington First 13 November[11]
Dudley Ward Wellington Country Wellington First 15 November[26]

Changes during termEdit

Montage of portraits depicting members of the New Zealand House of Representatives, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and the Clerk of the House, during the Second Parliament in 1860. Government House, Auckland, is at the top. This is the first photo taken of the New Zealand Parliament.
The key that goes with the montage of portraits.

The turnover of MPs was very high in the 2nd Parliament, with 32 by-elections and a supplementary election being held. This situation was partly the result of a redistribution of boundaries to seven electorates, and the creation of four new electorates – agreed upon in the Electoral Districts Act, 1858, with the total number of MPs in Parliament rising from 37 to 41, and the number of electorates rising from 24 to 28. The northern portion of the Northern Division electorate was split off and became the electorate of Marsden.[27] The Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay electorate was split into two separate components, Wairarapa and County of Hawke. All the previously unincorporated areas in the lower North Island were divided between Wairarapa, County of Hawke, Wanganui and Rangitikei, and Wellington Country.[27]

In the South Island, the southern portion of Wairau electorate, plus part of Christchurch Country, became the new Cheviot electorate.[28] The western portion of Dunedin Country was split off and became the new Wallace electorate. The northwest of the South Island remained the colony's only territory not part of an electorate.[28]

Members of Parliament belonging to one of the electorates that was split could choose which of the two new electorates they would want to represent, and by-elections were held during 1859 in the thus unrepresented electorates.[29]

At the opening of the 6th session of the Parliament on 10 April 1858,[30] the speaker read out 14 resignations.[31]

By-election Electorate Date Incumbent Reason Winner
1856 Motueka and Massacre Bay 19 May Charles Parker[12] Resignation Herbert Curtis[2][32]
1856 Christchurch Country[33] 14 October Dingley Brittin[6] Resignation John Ollivier[34]
1856 Grey and Bell 14 October Charles Brown[6] Resignation John Lewthwaite[10]
1856 Town of Christchurch[35] 18 November Henry Sewell[8] Resignation Richard Packer[12]
1856 Hutt 27 November Alfred Ludlam[10] Resignation Samuel Revans[36]
1858 City of Auckland 27 April John Logan Campbell[3] Resignation Thomas Forsaith[23]
1858 Pensioner Settlements[37] 29 April Joseph Greenwood[18] Resignation Jermyn Symonds[38]
1858 Southern Division 8 May Charles Taylor[19] Resignation Theodore Haultain[39]
1858 Grey and Bell 17 May John Lewthwaite[10] Resignation Charles Brown[6]
1858 Waimea 21 May Charles Elliott[13] Resignation David Monro[40]
1858 Wairau 21 May William Wells[22] Resignation Frederick Weld[22]
1858 Town of Lyttelton 28 May James FitzGerald[11] Resignation Crosbie Ward[26]
1858 Akaroa 31 May John Cuff[2] Resignation William Moorhouse[40]
1858 Dunedin Country 16 June John Cargill[3] Resignation John Taylor[19]
1858[41] Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay 22 July J. Valentine Smith[21] Resignation James Ferguson[25]
1858 City of Wellington 27 July Isaac Featherston
William Fitzherbert[11]
Resignations Isaac Featherston
William Rhodes[42]
1858 Wellington Country 29 July Dudley Ward[26] Resignation Alfred Brandon[6]
1858 Hutt 31 July Dillon Bell[4]
Samuel Revans[36]
Resignations Alfred Renall[10]
William Fitzherbert[11]
1859 Town of Dunedin 14 January James Macandrew Resignation James Macandrew[9]

Supplementary election, 1859Edit

Cheviot 18 December[43] Edward Jollie
Marsden 29 November[25] James Farmer
Wairarapa 7 November[24] Charles Carter
Wallace 30 November[4] Dillon Bell
By-election Electorate Date Incumbent Reason Winner

2nd Parliament (continued)Edit

1859 Waimea 26 December William Travers Resignation Fedor Kelling
1860 Town of Christchurch[44] 18 January Richard Packer Resignation Henry Sewell
1860 (1st) Suburbs of Auckland 25 January Walter Brodie Resignation Theophilus Heale
1860 Dunedin Country 28 March William Cargill[3] Resignation Thomas Gillies[45]
1860 (1st) Christchurch Country 2 April John Ollivier Resignation Isaac Cookson
1860 City of Auckland 5 April Thomas Beckham Resignation Archibald Clark
1860 (2nd) Suburbs of Auckland 5 April Frederick Merriman Resignation Joseph Hargreaves
1860 Omata 16 April Alfred East Resignation James Richmond
1860 (2nd) Christchurch Country 21 April John Hall Resignation Charles Brown
1860 County of Hawke 26 April James Ferguson Resignation Thomas Fitzgerald
1860 Northern Division[46] 23 May Thomas Henderson Resignation Thomas Henderson
1860 Grey and Bell[47] 28 May Charles Brown Resignation Thomas King
1860 (3rd) Suburbs of Auckland 4 August Joseph Hargreaves Resignation John Logan Campbell

Existing electoratesEdit


Cuff resigned in 1858[31] and was succeeded by William Sefton Moorhouse.

Auckland Suburbs

Merriman resigned on 13 March 1860.[48] He was succeeded by Joseph Hargreaves, who was elected on 5 April 1860, and resigned on 24 July 1860.[39] Hargreaves was replaced by Logan Campbell, who was returned unopposed on 4 August 1860.[49]

Brodie resigned on 6 December 1859[48] and was succeeded by Theophilus Heale.[50]

Christchurch Country

Brittin resigned in 1856, returned to England on 'urgent business' and did not return to New Zealand.[51] He was succeeded in 1856 by John Ollivier,[52] who himself resigned in 1860. Ollivier was succeeded by Isaac Cookson.

Hall resigned in 1860 and was succeeded by Charles Hunter Brown.

City of Auckland

Campbell resigned in 1858.[31] He was succeeded by Thomas Forsaith.

Beckham resigned in 1859. He was succeeded by Archibald Clark.[53]

City of Wellington

In 1858, Featherston and Fitzherbert resigned their seats in Parliament.[31] Featherston apparently wanted to return to England.[54] Instead, he successfully stood for re-election within months. The other person returned in the same by-election was William Barnard Rhodes.[55]

County of Hawke

The renamed County of Hawke (it had previously been Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay, until its southern portion was made into the separate electorate of Wairarapa). Thomas Henry FitzGerald was elected as its representative on 26 April 1860.

Dunedin Country

John and his father William Cargill resigned in 1858[31] and October 1859, respectively. The first vacancy was filled by John Parkin Taylor, who retired from parliament at the end of this term. The second vacancy was filled by Thomas Gillies.[48]

Grey and Bell

Brown resigned on 16 August 1856 to (unsuccessfully) contest the Taranaki superintendency. He was again elected in 1858 and resigned in 1860, when his militia service required his full attention.[56] In between Brown's terms, John Lewthwaite (who resigned in 1858) represented the electorate.[31]


Bell resigned in 1858[31] and was succeeded by William Fitzherbert. Ludlam, the other representative of Hutt, resigned in 1856 and was replaced by Samuel Revans, who resigned again on 22 March 1858[31] and was succeeded by Alfred Renall.

Motueka and Massacre Bay

Parker resigned in 1856 and was succeeded by Herbert Curtis.[57]


East resigned in 1860. The subsequent by-election on 16 April 1860 was won unopposed by James Crowe Richmond.[58]

Pensioner Settlements

Greenwood resigned[31] and Captain Jermyn Symonds was elected on 30 April 1858.[59]

Southern Division

Taylor resigned on 13 April 1858 and was succeeded through an 1858 by-election by Theodore Haultain.

Town of Christchurch

Sewell resigned his seat in late 1856 to return to England. He was succeeded by Richard Packer.[60] Packer resigned in 1859. Sewell, having returned from England, won the 1860 by-election.[61] He did not seek re-election at the end of the term, but was appointed Registrar-General of Lands towards the end of 1860.[62]

Town of Dunedin

Macandrew resigned on 2 November 1858. He successfully contested the January 1859 by-election in the same electorate.[63]

Town of Lyttelton

FitzGerald] resigned in 1857 due to ill health.[31][64] Crosbie Ward won the resulting by-election in May 1858.[65]


Elliot resigned in 1858.[31] He was succeeded by David Monro, who had already represented the electorate in the 1st Parliament.

Travers resigned in 1859 and was succeeded by Fedor Kelling.[57]

Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay

Smith resigned on 10 March 1858.[31] He was succeeded by James Burne Ferguson.[66]


Wells resigned in 1858.[31] He was succeeded by Frederick Weld, who had already represented the electorate in the 1st Parliament.

Wellington Country

Ward resigned on 22 March 1858.[31] He was succeeded by Alfred Brandon.

New electoratesEdit


Cheviot was first created in 1859, with Edward Jollie its first representative.


Marsden was established in 1859. James Farmer was the first representative, elected on 16 December 1859.[67]


The Wairarapa electorate was created in 1859. Charles Carter was the first elected representative.


The Wallace electorate was created in 1859 and the first elections held on 30 November. Dillon Bell was the first elected representative.


  1. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 68.
  2. ^ a b c d Scholefield 1950, p. 102.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Scholefield 1950, p. 99.
  4. ^ a b c d Scholefield 1950, p. 95.
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 126.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Scholefield 1950, p. 97.
  7. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 111.
  8. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 138.
  9. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 121.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Scholefield 1950, p. 120.
  11. ^ a b c d e Scholefield 1950, p. 106.
  12. ^ a b c Scholefield 1950, p. 131.
  13. ^ a b c Scholefield 1950, p. 104.
  14. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 140.
  15. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 136.
  16. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 113.
  17. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 148.
  18. ^ a b c Scholefield 1950, p. 109.
  19. ^ a b c Scholefield 1950, p. 143.
  20. ^ a b "Election of members to represent the Waimea districts". Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle. Vol. XIV. 7 November 1855. p. 2. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  21. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 139.
  22. ^ a b c Scholefield 1950, p. 147.
  23. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 107.
  24. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 100.
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  30. ^ "The General Assembly of New Zealand". Otago Witness. No. 340. 5 June 1858. p. 4. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "House of Representatives". Otago Witness. No. 340. 5 June 1858. p. 5. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  32. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1906). "Present And Past Members Of Parliament". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts. Christchurch. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
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  36. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 134.
  37. ^ "The Elections". Daily Southern Cross. Vol. XV, no. 1132. 4 May 1858. p. 3. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
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  39. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 112.
  40. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 127.
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  42. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 135.
  43. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 117.
  44. ^ "Canterbury". Wellington Independent. 17 May 1863.
  45. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 108.
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  47. ^ "Grey and Bell election". Taranaki Herald. Vol. VIII, no. 409. 2 June 1860. p. 3. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  48. ^ a b c Wilson 1985, p. ?.
  49. ^ "Election for the Suburbs". Daily Southern Cross. Vol. XVII, no. 1319. 7 August 1860. p. 2. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  50. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited 1902, p. 103.
  51. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited 1903, p. 92.
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External linksEdit