Thomas Mackenzie

Sir Thomas Mackenzie GCMG (10 March 1853 – 14 February 1930) was a Scottish-born New Zealand politician and explorer who briefly served as the 18th prime minister of New Zealand in 1912, and later served as New Zealand High Commissioner in London.


Sir Thomas Mackenzie

Thomas Mackenzie.jpg
18th Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
28 March 1912 – 10 July 1912
MonarchGeorge V
GovernorJohn Dickson-Poynder
Preceded bySir Joseph Ward
Succeeded byWilliam Massey
23rd Minister of Lands
In office
28 March 1912 – 10 July 1912
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded bySir Joseph Ward
Succeeded byWilliam Massey
14th Minister of Agriculture
In office
1 May 1909 – 10 July 1912
Prime MinisterSir Joseph Ward, Himself
Preceded bySir Joseph Ward
Succeeded byWilliam Massey
4th Minister of Industries and Commerce
In office
6 January 1909 – 10 July 1912
Prime MinisterSir Joseph Ward, Himself
Preceded byJames McGowan
Succeeded byWilliam Fraser
3rd Commissioner of Forests
In office
6 January 1909 – 10 July 1912
Prime MinisterSir Joseph Ward, Himself
Preceded byThomas Young Duncan
Succeeded byFrancis Bell
Personal details
Born(1853-03-10)10 March 1853
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died14 February 1930(1930-02-14) (aged 76)
Dunedin, New Zealand
Resting placeDunedin Northern Cemetery
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)
Ida Henrietta Nantes
(m. 1884; died 1926)
Children7, including Clutha

BiographyEdit

Early life and careerEdit

Mackenzie was born in Edinburgh in 1853. His family emigrated to New Zealand in 1858 when he was four and Mackenzie was educated at Green Island School and at the Stone School, both in Dunedin.[1] After ending his education in his early teens he worked for several years in commercial firms before, aged 20, following his brother James into surveying. He gained employment at the Department of Lands and Survey and worked in several locations including the Hutt Valley, Rangitikei and Manawatu before finally returning to his home area in Dunedin.[2]

In 1877 he purchased a general storekeeping business in Balclutha. He managed the business well and it developed well before he sold it in 1886 for a considerable profit. In the Balclutha area he became a well-known man and was accordingly elected a member of the Balclutha Borough Council from 1881 to 1887.[2] During this period he married, on 24 September 1884, to Ida Henrietta Nantes with whom he had five sons and two daughters.[1]

Mackenzie was also a notable explorer. He was a member of expeditions to the Tautuku Forest (1883), the wild country between Milford Sound and Lake Te Anau (1888; discovered the Sutherland Falls), and the Matterhorn Mountains (1888; discovered a pass between Lake Manapouri and Hall Arm). He was the first person to try to map an overland route to Dusky Sound (1894–1896). He crossed the land between Lake Te Anau and Lake Wakatipu in 1907.[1]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1887–1890 10th Clutha Independent
1890–1893 11th Clutha Liberal
1893–1896 12th Clutha Liberal
1900–1902 14th Waihemo Liberal
1902–1905 15th Waikouaiti Liberal
1905–1908 16th Waikouaiti Liberal
1908–1911 17th Taieri Liberal
1911–1912 18th Egmont Liberal

Mackenzie was elected to the New Zealand Parliament for Clutha in 1887. He resigned in 1896 to assess the British markets for New Zealand products and remained in his native land for three years. On his return to New Zealand he was elected to Parliament successively for Waihemo 1900–1902, Waikouaiti 1902–1908, Taieri 1908–1911 and Egmont (in the North Island) 1911–1912, never losing an election he contested.[1] In addition to parliamentary duties Mackenzie was Mayor of Roslyn from 1901 to 1902. Additionally he served for many years on the Otago Education Board, Otago High Schools' Board and the Otago Hospital Board.[2]

Minister and Prime MinisterEdit

In January 1909 he was appointed Minister of Industries and Commerce, Tourist and Health Resorts, Scenery Preservation and State Forestry Departments in the government of Sir Joseph Ward with a seat in the Cabinet. In May the same year he also became Minister of Agriculture.[3] In May 1912 Ward resigned as Prime Minister. Mackenzie was one of several names floated as possible successor and after a 10-hour caucus meeting on 22 March, presided over by Ward, Mackenzie won a ballot by the caucus 22 votes to 9 over George Laurenson.[4] He also served as Minister of Lands in his own government.[5]

Mackenzie's Ministry was criticised by both the opposition and Liberal dissidents. Liberal MP Roderick McKenzie stated that Mackenzie's ministers were political novices who had forsaken their liberal principles and John Millar should have been Ward's successor as Prime Minister.[6] The Mackenzie government survived only until July 1912 when he lost a vote of no confidence moved by the opposition. Two of Ward's Ministers withdrew their support and several members crossed the floor to defeat the ministry and William Massey's Reform Party came to power. Mackenzie then resigned as leader of the Liberals.[7] He did so believing the Liberal Party's policies and reforms had become too mainstream and entrenched for them to be abolished.[1]

Diplomatic careerEdit

The new Prime Minister Massey appointed him to London as High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom. He served in this role until 1920 during which time he carried an unexpectedly high workload due to the advent of World War I. He was New Zealand delegate at the peace conferences with Austria, Bulgaria and Turkey in 1919, a member of the Dardanelles Commission and the Imperial War Graves Commission (later the Commonwealth War Graves Commission).[1] Historian David Hall wrote that his work as New Zealand's wartime High Commissioner was the most valuable period of his career.[2]

Later life and deathEdit

In March 1921 he was appointed member of the New Zealand Legislative Council for Otago.[2]

In 1923 he supported Val Sanderson in establishing the Native Bird Protection Society (later the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand) and was the society's first president.[8] New Zealand historian Tom Brooking wrote that Mackenzie's greatest contribution was his vigorous support of the cause of conservation in New Zealand.[1]

Mackenzie died in Dunedin in 1930 and was buried in the Dunedin Northern Cemetery.[9]

Honours and recognitionEdit

He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 1916 New Year Honours (1 January 1916)[10] and promoted to Knight Grand Cross (GCMG) in June 1920.[11]

FamilyEdit

His son Clutha Mackenzie who was blinded at Gallipoli was active in work for the blind. He followed his father in also becoming, briefly, a Member of Parliament.[12] His brother James Mackenzie was Surveyor-General of New Zealand from 1912 to 1914.[2]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Brooking, Tom. "Mackenzie, Thomas Noble 1853–1930". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hall, David Oswald William (1966). "Mackenzie, Sir Thomas, G.C.M.G.". In McLintock, A. H. (ed.). An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 74.
  4. ^ Bassett 1993, p. 209.
  5. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 75.
  6. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 12-13.
  7. ^ Foster, John (1966). "Liberal Party". In McLintock, A. H. (ed.). An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  8. ^ Galbreath, Ross. "Ernest Valentine Sanderson". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  10. ^ "No. 29423". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1915. p. 82.
  11. ^ "No. 13609". The Edinburgh Gazette. 29 June 1920. p. 1523.
  12. ^ Hansen, Penelope. "Mackenzie, Clutha Nantes". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 20 December 2014.

ReferencesEdit

  • Bassett, Michael (1982). Three Party Politics in New Zealand 1911–1931. Auckland: Historical Publications. ISBN 0-86870-006-1.
  • Bassett, Michael (1993). Sir Joseph Ward: A Political Biography. Auckland: Auckland University Press.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
  • Obituary, The Times, 15 February 1930

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Joseph Ward
Prime Minister of New Zealand
1912
Succeeded by
William Massey
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
James William Thomson
Member of Parliament for Clutha
1887–1896
Succeeded by
James William Thomson
Preceded by
John McKenzie
Member of Parliament for Waihemo
1900–1902
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Edmund Allen
Member of Parliament for Waikouaiti
1902–1908
Preceded by
Donald Reid
Member of Parliament for Taieri
1908–1911
Vacant
Constituence abolished, recreated in 2020
Title next held by
Ingrid Leary
Preceded by
Bradshaw Dive
Member of Parliament for Egmont
1911–1912
Succeeded by
Charles Wilkinson
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Hall-Jones
High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom
1912–1920
Succeeded by
James Allen