Arthur Atkinson (politician, born 1863)

Arthur Alfred Richmond Atkinson (5 August 1863 – 26 March 1935) was a New Zealand barrister and solicitor, Member of Parliament and Wellington City Councillor.

Arthur Atkinson
Arthur Richmond Atkinson.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for City of Wellington
In office
1899 – 1902
alongside George Fisher & John Hutcheson
Personal details
Arthur Richmond Atkinson

(1863-08-05)5 August 1863
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Died26 March 1935(1935-03-26) (aged 71)
Wadestown, New Zealand
Resting placeKarori Cemetery
(m. 1900; died 1921)

Emma Maud Banfield
(m. 1923)
RelativesArthur Atkinson (father)
Jane Maria Richmond (mother)
Charles Fell (brother-in-law)
Harry Atkinson (uncle)
William Richmond (uncle)
James Crowe Richmond (uncle)
Henry Richmond (uncle)
Mary Richmond (cousin)
Dolla Richmond (cousin)
Alma materCorpus Christi College, Oxford
ProfessionBarrister and solicitor

Early life and familyEdit

Atkinson was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1872,[1] the son of Arthur Atkinson and Jane Maria Richmond. On his father's side he was the nephew of Harry Atkinson. On his mother's side he was the nephew of (Christopher) William Richmond, James Crowe Richmond and Henry Richmond. In 1900, he married temperance and women's suffrage campaigner Lily May Kirk in Wellington.[2] After the death of his wife in 1921, Atkinson remarried Emma Maud Banfield, a nursing educator awarded the Royal Red Cross in 1917, in London in 1923.[3][4]

He was educated at Nelson College in New Zealand and Clifton College[5] in England. After studying at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Atkinson was called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1887, before returning to New Zealand the same year.[3]

Legal careerEdit

After a period working in law offices in Nelson and Dunedin, Atkinson served as secretary to his uncle, William (Mr Justice) Richmond, between 1889 and 1890.[1][3] In 1892 he began legal practice in Wellington, joining Charles Morison to form the firm of barristers and solicitors Morison and Atkinson.[6] He later became a partner in Atkinson, Dale and Mather.[3]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1899–1902 14th City of Wellington Independent

Atkinson represented the City of Wellington electorate from 1899 to 1902 when he was defeated; of nine candidates, he came fifth in the three-member electorate.[7][8] He had become unpopular for speaking out publicly against sending New Zealand troops to support the British in the Boer War of South Africa.[9] He stood unsuccessfully for Wellington East in 1908, being defeated in the second ballot.[10]

He was first elected to the Wellington City Council at the 1909 local-body election.[11] He continued as a city councillor until 1921, when he did not seek re-election.

Other activitiesEdit

Both Atkinson and his wife Lily were part of the founding of the Forward Movement in Wellington, a non-sectarian Christian movement with origins in London, England which connected adult education through cottage meetings and public lectures with Bible study and charitable work.[12] Led by two Congregational ministers, W.A. Evans (husband of Kate Edger and G.H. Bradbury, the first meeting was held in the Rechabite Hall on Sunday, 27 August 1893, and the Atkinsons were appointed to a committee of management that organized the event venues and community partnerships.[13] Atkinson was active in the prohibition movement, and was president of the New Zealand Alliance from 1920 to 1922.[1] From 1907 to 1911 he was the New Zealand correspondent for The Morning Post newspaper in London, and subsequently held the same role with The Times.[1][3] He also contributed a biography of William Massey and the article on New Zealand to the 1922 edition of Encyclopædia Britannica.[14]


Atkinson died at his residence in the Wellington suburb of Wadestown on 26 March 1935.[15] He was buried at Karori Cemetery.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d "Obituary – Mr. A. R. Atkinson". The Evening Post. 26 March 1935. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  2. ^ Porter, Frances. "Lily May Atkinson". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Mr. A. R. Atkinson". The Times. 27 March 1935. p. 16.
  4. ^ Matrons' Council and the R.R.C.. British Journal of Nursing, 3 March 1917, p. 152. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Clifton College Register" Muirhead, J.A.O. p78: Bristol; J.W Arrowsmith for Old Cliftonian Society; April, 1948
  6. ^ Barristers and solicitors – Morison and Atkinson. Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Wellington Provincial District), p 477. Wellington, 1897. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  7. ^ Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. p. 93.
  8. ^ "New Zealand General Election, 1902: Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1903 Session I, H-26". 1903. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  9. ^ Scholefield, G.H., ed. (1940). "Atkinson, Arthur Richmond (1863-1935)". A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Vol I: A-L. Wellington, NZ: Department of Internal Affairs. pp. 21–22.
  10. ^ "Mr. A. R. Atkinson". The Evening Post. 25 November 1908. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Dr. A. K. Newman elected". The Dominion. 29 April 1909. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  12. ^ "The Forward Movement". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand - Wellington Provincial District. Wellington, NZ: The Cyclopedia Co., Ltd. 1897.
  13. ^ "Minute book for organisations including the Forward Movement, MS-Papers-11535-023". Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  14. ^   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Initials used in volume XXXI. to identify contributors". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 31 (12th ed.). London & New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company. p. vi.
  15. ^ "Deaths". The Evening Post. 26 March 1935. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  16. ^ "Funeral service". The Evening Post. 28 March 1935. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by Member of Parliament for City of Wellington
Served alongside: George Fisher, John Hutcheson
Succeeded by