The previous electoral redistribution was undertaken in 1875 for the 1875–76 election. In the six years since, New Zealand's European population had increased by 65%. In the 1881 electoral redistribution, the House of Representatives increased the number of European representatives to 91 (up from 84 since the 1875–76 election). The number of Māori electorates was held at four. The House further decided that electorates should not have more than one representative, which led to 35 new electorates being formed, including Dunedin East, and two electorates that had previously been abolished to be recreated. This necessitated a major disruption to existing boundaries.
|1881 election||Matthew Green|
|1884 election||Robert Stout|
|1887 election||James Allen|
- McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8.
- Scholefield, Guy (1925) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record (2nd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer.
- Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer.
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.