Henry Bunny (7 October 1822 – 15 February 1891) was a 19th-century Member of Parliament in the Wairarapa, New Zealand.

Henry Bunny
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Wairarapa
In office
29 July 1865 – 8 November 1881
Preceded byCharles Carter
Succeeded byin abeyance
Personal details
Born(1822-10-07)7 October 1822
Newbury, Berkshire, England
Died15 February 1891(1891-02-15) (aged 68)
Featherston, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyIndependent
RelationsCharles H. Broad (grandson)
Edward Broad (grandson)

Early lifeEdit

Henry Bunny was born in 1822 in Newbury in Berkshire, the second son of Jere Bunny, solicitor, of that town and his wife, Clara, only surviving daughter of Samuel Slocock, banker, also of Newbury.[1] He married Catherine Bunny (née Baker, born 24 June 1818 in Newbury)[2] on 22 October 1844.[1]

Scandal in EnglandEdit

Bunny was a partner in his father's firm of Newbury solicitors. He was town clerk of Newbury between 1849 and 1853. He fled to New Zealand in 1853 and was declared a bankrupt after the scandalous collapse of a property development scheme at Donnington Square in Newbury. He was struck off by the Law Society in 1859.[1]

Career in New ZealandEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1865–1876 3rd Wairarapa Independent
1866–1870 4th Wairarapa Independent
1871–1875 5th Wairarapa Independent
1876–1879 6th Wairarapa Independent
1879–1881 7th Wairarapa Independent

Bunny emigrated to New Zealand together with his wife and children,[3] his sister and her husband, Rev. Arthur Baker, on the Duke of Portland, leaving Plymouth on 19 November 1853.[1][4][5] He settled on a sheep station in the Wairarapa and built a house named Longwood after Napoleon's residence in exile on Saint Helena.[6] Bunny applied to the New Zealand Bar, was admitted in 1858, but became the first member to be disbarred when it was discovered his sponsor, Rev. Arthur Baker, was his brother-in-law.[5] Baker became involved in a later scandal and was branded 'the horse-whipped vicar'.[5]

Bunny was on the Wellington Provincial Council, representing Wairarapa (1864–1865) and then Wairarapa West (1865–1876).[7] He was on the Executive Council (1871–1873)[8] and was Secretary-Treasurer and the Council's last Deputy-Superintendent in 1876.[9] He was elected to represent the Wairarapa electorate in the New Zealand General Assembly from an 1865 by-election to 1881, when he was defeated for the new electorate of Wairarapa South by Walter Clarke Buchanan.[10]

A resignation in the Thorndon electorate caused an 1884 by-election. At the nomination meeting, Thomas Dwan, Alfred Newman and Henry Bunny were proposed as candidates, with Dwan winning the show of hands.[11] At the election on 14 May 1884, Newman, Bunny and Dwan received 636, 379 and 121 votes, respectively.[12]

Bunny was defeated by Buchanan in the 1884 election in Wairarapa South,[13] and in 1887 and 1890 in Wairarapa.[14][15]

Family, death and commemorationEdit

Bunny's first wife died on 24 July 1864. She was buried at Bolton Street Cemetery in Wellington.[2] On 30 January 1867 at Featherston, Bunny married Eliza "Bessie" Thorne, the daughter of Samuel Thorne from Chapeltown in Yorkshire, England.[16]

On 3 October 1867 at St Mary's Cathedral in Wellington, Isabella Mary Bunny (1849–1932), his second daughter from his first marriage, married Lowther Broad (1840–1892).[17] Broad had been goldfields warden at Queenstown,[18] was resident magistrate in Arrowtown at the time of their wedding, and later a judge at the District Court in Nelson.[19] Charles Broad (1828–1879) was Lowther Broad's elder brother.[18] Charles Harrington Broad (1872–1959), a cricketer and school principal, was the son of Isabella and Lowther Broad.[20]

In 1878 his daughter Eleanor Caroline (Nellie) Bunny (1860–1938) married runholder Edward Riddiford.[citation needed]

Bunny committed suicide on 15 February 1891. He went to the Road Board office in his home town Featherston, asked for the key to the office and once he arrived there, shot himself through the heart with a revolver.[21] He was buried at Featherston Cemetery.[22] The village of Bunnythorpe is named after him.[23] His second wife died at Opaki, a small village near Masterton, in 1915 aged 80. She was buried at Masterton Cemetery.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d "Henry Bunny". MacFarlane Families and Connected Clans Genealogies. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Catherine Baker". MacFarlane Families and Connected Clans Genealogies. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  3. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "Mr. Henry Robert Bunny". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  4. ^ Petrie, Gavin W. "Ships to New Zealand". Rootsweb. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Finn, Jeremy (July 2002). The schoolgirl and the horse-whipped parson: an account of an early New Zealand cause celebre. Katoomba.
  6. ^ Schrader, Ben (20 March 2007). "Longwood". Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  7. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 237.
  8. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 236.
  9. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 235.
  10. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 186–187.
  11. ^ "Thorndon Election". The Evening Post. Vol. XXVII, no. 106. 5 May 1884. p. 3. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  12. ^ "The Thorndon Election". Daily Telegraph. No. 3997. 14 May 1884. p. 3. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  13. ^ "The General Election, 1884". National Library. 1884. p. 2. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  14. ^ "The General Election, 1887". National Library. 1887. p. 2. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  15. ^ "The General Election, 1890". National Library. 1891. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  16. ^ "Births, Marriages, and Deaths". Wellington Independent. Vol. XXI, no. 2480. 14 February 1867. p. 4. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  17. ^ "Married". The Evening Post. Vol. III, no. 199. 3 October 1867. p. 2. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  18. ^ a b Hutchison, Anne. "Charles Broad". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Death". Colonist. Vol. XXXV, no. 7404. 18 August 1892. p. 3. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  20. ^ "Secondary schools". Cyclopedia of New Zealand: Otago & Southland provincial districts. Christchurch: Cyclopedia Company. 1905. p. 160. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  21. ^ "Suicide of Mr H. Bunny". Otago Daily Times. No. 9041. 17 February 1891. p. 2. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  22. ^ "Funeral of Mr. Henry Bunny". Colonist. Vol. XXXIV, no. 6043. 23 February 1891. p. 3. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  23. ^ "Bunnythorpe". Our Region. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  24. ^ "Personal". Wairarapa Age. Vol. XXV, no. 10713. 6 March 1915. p. 5. Retrieved 2 February 2016.


  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Wairarapa
Served alongside: John Chapman Andrew, George Beetham
In abeyance
Title next held by
Walter Clarke Buchanan