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The son of a small arms manufacturer, he emigrated to New Zealand in 1854, and recorded many natural observations as well as species that were then new to science, such as the black-billed gull and the great spotted kiwi.
In the 1860s and 1870s, Thomas Potts was an early campaigner for areas of New Zealand to be set aside as nature reserves to safe many bird species from extinction, after the deforestation of large areas of mainland New Zealand. Potts owned Ohinetahi for several years.
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840–1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 133. OCLC 154283103.
- Boast, R; Gilling, B D (August 2008). "Ngati Toa Lands Research Project Report Two: 1865–1975" (PDF). New Zealand Government. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
- "Ohinetahi". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- Star, Paul. "Thomas Henry Potts". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
- IPNI. Potts.
- Digitized works by Thomas Henry Potts at Biodiversity Heritage Library
- Thomas Henry Potts in New Zealand birds website
- Potts, Thomas Henry in 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand