William Fitzherbert (New Zealand politician)

Sir William Fitzherbert KCMG (15 August 1810 – 6 February 1891) was a New Zealand politician. He served as Minister of Finance, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Speaker of the Legislative Council.

Sir William Fitzherbert
William Fitzherbert.jpg
5th Speaker of the Legislative Council
In office
Preceded byJohn Richardson
Succeeded byGeorge Waterhouse
In office
Preceded byGeorge Waterhouse
Succeeded byHarry Atkinson
4th Speaker of the House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byDillon Bell
Succeeded byMaurice O'Rorke
8th Colonial Treasurer
In office
24 November 1864 – 16 October 1865
Prime MinisterFrederick Weld
Preceded byReader Wood
Succeeded byEdward Stafford
In office
24 August 1866 – 28 June 1869
Prime MinisterEdward Stafford
Preceded byFrancis Jollie
Succeeded byJulius Vogel
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Hutt
In office
Preceded byAlfred Renall
Alfred Ludlam
Succeeded byHenry Jackson
2nd Superintendent of Wellington Province
In office
28 April 1871 – 1 January 1877
Preceded byIsaac Featherston
Succeeded byNone (office abolished)
Personal details
Born15 August 1810
Died6 February 1891(1891-02-06) (aged 80)
Lower Hutt
New Zealand
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Sarah Jane Leigh
RelationsPatrick Buckley (son in law)
Professionpolitician, merchant

Early lifeEdit

Fitzherbert was born in Dorset, England, on 15 August 1810. He was educated at Sherborne and studied medicine in Paris and London.[1] Late in 1840 or early 1841 he married Sarah Jane Leigh in London. They came to New Zealand in 1841, settling in Wellington.[2]

They later moved to Willow Bank a house in Lower Hutt and entertained parliamentarians there (which may account for the street's name of "Parliament Street"). The house now has a Historic Places Trust "C" classification.[3]

Political careerEdit

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1855–1858 2nd Town of Wellington Independent
1858–1860 2nd Hutt Independent
1860–1866 3rd Hutt Independent
1866–1870 4th Hutt Independent
1871–1875 5th Hutt Independent
1875–1879 6th Hutt Independent

He soon became active in politics, serving both on the Wellington Provincial Council and in the New Zealand Parliament. He was elected to the Wellington Provincial Council for the City of Wellington division at the 1853 New Zealand provincial elections. He was elected to the 2nd Parliament as a representative of the City of Wellington electorate, but resigned part way through the term to successfully seek election as representative for the Hutt electorate, which happened on 31 July 1858. He contested the general election on 29 December 1875 against William Hutchison and obtained 178 votes, with Hutchison receiving 38.[4] He retained the Hutt electorate until his resignation in 1879, so that he could appointed to the Legislative Council. He also served as Colonial Treasurer (Minister of Finance) for the duration of Frederick Weld's premiership.[5][6]

His younger son Henry represented the Hutt electorate from 1884–90.[5][7] His other son, William, later became Mayor of Lower Hutt.[8][9]

Wellington ProvinceEdit

Fitzherbert was Superintendent of the Wellington Province from 1871 until the abolition of the provinces in 1876. The Palmerston North suburb of Aokautere was once named after Fitzherbert, as he had promoted settlement of the Manawatu. The Fitzherbert East Dairy Factory building still carries the name these days.[10]

Speaker of the HouseEdit

He served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1876 until his appointment to the Legislative Council, and then as Speaker of the Legislative Council until his death.[6]

He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1877.[6]


Fitzherbert died on 6 February 1891 at his residence in Lower Hutt. He was buried at Lower Hutt cemetery on 10 February next to his late wife, who had died on 21 August 1886.[7]

He was survived by his daughter and two sons; William Alfred Fitzherbert) (mayor) and Henry Samuel Fitzherbert (MP). His only daughter Alice Jane married Sir Patrick Buckley in 1869.[6]


There are several streets in Wainuiomata bearing his name. The peak of the Eastern Hills dividing Naenae and Wainuiomata and its television relay mast is named Mount Fitzherbert.


  1. ^ "The Sherborne Register 1550–1950" (PDF). Old Shirbirnian Society. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  2. ^ Hamer, David. "Fitzherbert, William". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  3. ^ Kaye, George (1987). Bygone Days in Lower Hutt. Lower Hutt: Lower Hutt City Council. pp. 88–91. ISBN 0-473-00523-9.
  4. ^ "The Hutt Election". The Evening Post. Vol. XII, no. 154. 30 December 1875. p. 2. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  5. ^ a b Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
  6. ^ a b c d Campbell, Keith Kennedy (23 April 2009). "Fitzherbert, Sir William, K.C.M.G." An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Obituary". The Evening Post. Vol. XLI, no. 33. 9 February 1891. p. 2. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  8. ^ Platts, Una (1980). "Fitzherbert, William Alfred 1843–1906". Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook. Christchurch: Avon Fine Prints. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  9. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "General". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  10. ^ "Aokautere". OurRegion Manawatu. Retrieved 27 November 2010.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Colonial Treasurer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Superintendent of Wellington Province
Provincial Councils abolished
Preceded by Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Preceded by Speaker of the New Zealand Legislative Council
Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Wellington
Served alongside: Isaac Featherston, Charles Clifford
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Hutt
Served alongside: Alfred Renall, Alfred Ludlam
Succeeded by