Joseph Dransfield

Joseph Dransfield (1827 – 21 September 1906) was the first mayor of Wellington, New Zealand, from 1870 to 1872. He was the first mayor since William Guyton was (briefly) mayor of Wellington Borough in 1843.

Joseph Dransfield
Joseph Dransfield.jpg
Joseph Dransfield
Born1827 (1827)
Died21 September 1906(1906-09-21) (aged 78–79)


Dransfield was born Huddersfield, Yorkshire, in 1827, where his father, also Joseph, was the owner of the Rookery Woollen Mills. He was educated in Huddersfield and migrated to Australia in 1852 on the Falcon when he was 25 years old before coming to Wellington in 1857. His mother and father also settled in New Zealand living for a time in Lyttelton. He was married and had several sons and daughters.[1][2]

Dransfield's brother, C. E. Dransfield, was already in Wellington when he arrived and had established a general merchant business, which Dransfield eventually took over. They were major coal merchant into the 1860s, with supply contracts for the New Zealand Steam Navigation Company, and M'Meckan Blackwood's fleets. From 1878 to 1879 he was president of the chamber of commerce, having been a member for a number of years.[3] Dransfield carried on in business until ill health forced his retirement in 1888. He sold out the goodwill and business to the United Importers Company.

Civic rolesEdit

In 1842 Wellington had been declared a borough and elected its own mayor. In 1843, while William Guyton was mayor, the British Government declared the legislation that founded the borough invalid. For the period from 1843 to 1863 Wellington had no local authority. In 1863 legislation under the provincial government allowed a town board to be set up. This was followed by legislation that allowed the establishment of the Wellington City Council in 1870.

Dransfield became mayor in 1870 after Wellington was declared a city. He was mayor again in 1878, but resigned on 9 May 1879. He had previously been chairman of the town board from 1865 to 1870, and represented Wellington City in the Wellington Provincial Council from 1863 to 1867. He was noted as securing one of Wellington's more important reclamations.

Dransfield Street in Vogeltown is named after him.[4] Dransfield died at Wellington on 21 September 1906.[5]


  1. ^ "Death of Mr J Dransfield". The Evening Post. Vol. LXXII, no. 71. 21 September 1906. p. 6.
  2. ^ Ex Mayors - Wellington, The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District], Cyclopedia Company Limited, 1897, page 288
  3. ^ "Obituary". The Wairarapa Daily Times. Vol. LV, no. 8562. 22 September 1906. p. 5.
  4. ^ Irvine-Smith 1948, p. 109.
  5. ^ Death of an old citizen and ex-Mayor, Colonist, Volume XLVIII, Issue 11740, 24 September 1906, Page 2


  • Irvine-Smith, F. L. (1948). The Streets of My City. Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed.
  • No Mean City by Stuart Perry (1969, Wellington City Council) includes a paragraph and a portrait or photo for each mayor.
Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Wellington

Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by