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Thomas Forsyth (New Zealand politician)

Thomas Forsyth (17 May 1868 – 6 February 1941) was a Reform Party Member of Parliament in New Zealand.

Early lifeEdit

Forsyth was born in Dunedin in 1868.[1] He was the third son of James Forsyth of Dunedin.[2] He received his education at schools in Dunedin and attended the University of Otago.[3] He was prominent in rugby and represented Otago and Wellington.[3]

Professional lifeEdit

In 1884, Forsyth started to work for Dodgshun and Company, woollen importers. In 1891, when the head office transferred to Wellington, he moved to New Zealand's capital city. He was the manager of Dodgshun and Co. from 1894 to 1898. In 1898, he became the accountant and secretary for the Te Aro House Drapery Company Ltd. He became that company's assistant manager in 1905 and general manager in 1914, a position that he held until 1922, when he started his private accountancy practice.[3]

Public rolesEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1925–1928 22nd Wellington East Reform

Forsyth was a member of the Wellington Education Board for 18 years, and for 16 of those, he was its chairman. He held governance roles with the Technical College, Wellington College, and Victoria College.[3]

Forsyth was first elected onto Wellington City Council in 1919 and had almost continuous membership until his death. The Civic League nominated him as their candidate for the 1925 mayoralty, but he withdrew in favour of Charles Norwood, who was the successful candidate.[3]

Forsyth first stood in a general election in 1922, when he was one of four candidates in the Wellington East electorate. He came second, beaten by Labour's Alec Monteith.[4] He won the Wellington East electorate in the 1925 general election by defeating Monteith.[5] Forsyth was defeated in the next general election in 1928 by Labour's Bob Semple.[6] He stood once more in 1931 but was again beaten by Semple.[3]

In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.[7]

Family and deathEdit

On 30 August 1894, Forsyth married Elizabeth Smith at Dunedin. She was the eldest daughter of Alexander Smith of Gracefield in County Londonderry, Ireland.[2]

Elizabeth Forsyth died on 26 September 1935 at their Wellington home and was buried at Karori Cemetery in Wellington.[8][9] Thomas Forsyth died at his son's house in Masterton on 6 February 1941.[10] He is also buried at Karori Cemetery.[11] He was survived by one son and three daughters.[3]


  1. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 197.
  2. ^ a b "Marriage". Otago Daily Times (10143). 1 September 1894. p. 4. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Mr. Thomas Forsyth". The Evening Post. CXXXI (32). 7 February 1941. p. 9. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  4. ^ Hislop, J. (1923). The General Election, 1922. Government Printer. p. 4. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  5. ^ The General Election, 1925. Government Printer. 1926. p. 4. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 197, 233.
  7. ^ "Official jubilee medals". Evening Post. CXIX (105). 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Deaths". The Evening Post. CXX (77). 27 September 1935. p. 1. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Late Mrs. E. Forsyth". The Evening Post. CXX (79). 30 September 1935. p. 15. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Deaths". The Evening Post. CXXXI (32). 7 February 1941. p. 1. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Funeral Notices". The Evening Post. CXXXI (32). 7 February 1941. p. 1. Retrieved 19 April 2015.


  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Alec Monteith
Member of Parliament for Wellington East
Succeeded by
Bob Semple