New Zealand general election, 1890

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1890 general election
New Zealand
1887 ←
27 November (Māori) & 5 December (general) 1890 → 1893

All 74 seats in the House of Representatives of New Zealand
38 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 80.4%
  First party Second party
  John Ballance.jpg Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, ca 1885.jpg
Leader John Ballance Harry Atkinson
Party Liberal Independent
Leader since 1891 1887
Leader's seat Whanganui Egmont
Seats won 40 9
Popular vote 76,548 20,451
Percentage 56.1% 15.0%

Premier before election

Harry Atkinson

Elected Premier

John Ballance

The New Zealand general election of 1890 was one of New Zealand's most significant.[1] It marked the beginning of party politics in New Zealand with the formation of the Liberal Government, which was to enact major welfare, labour and electoral reforms, including giving the vote to women.

It was also the first election in which there was no legal plural voting. Multi-member electorates were re-introduced in the four main centres and the 'country quota' (which gave more weight to rural votes) was increased to 28%.

In December 1887, the House of Representatives voted to reduce its membership from general electorates from 91 to 70. The 1890 electoral redistribution used the same 1886 census data used for the 1887 electoral redistribution. In addition, three-member electorates were introduced in the four main centres.[2] This resulted in a major restructuring of electorates, with 12 new electorates created. Of those, four electorates were created for the first time: Te Aroha, Halswell, Dunedin Suburbs, and Palmerston. The remaining eight electorates had previously existed and were re-created through the 1890 electoral redistribution: City of Auckland, City of Christchurch, City of Dunedin, City of Wellington, Ellesmere, Franklin, Geraldine, and Westland. 74 MPs were elected to the 11th session of the New Zealand Parliament.[3] The Māori electorates voted on 27 November and the European (now known as General) electorates on 5 December. There were 183,171 voters registered in the sixty-two European electorates, which returned a total of 70 members.[4] This figure includes 13,668 voters in the six electorates where there was an unopposed return. 136,337 valid votes were cast in European electorates, including additional votes cast in the four three-member electorates.

Mackie and Rose suggest there was a 74.4% turnout, based on valid votes cast as a percentage of the registered electors. The official turnout figure is 80.4%, calculated on a different basis (see the Elections New Zealand official results web-site link below for further details of the changing methods used to calculate the official turnout).

The Māori vote, for the remaining four seats, was held on 27 November. Maori electorates did not have electoral rolls so their voting figures and percentages are not included above.

Following the election and the resignation of the previous government headed by Harry Atkinson, John Ballance formed the first Liberal Party ministry, taking office on 24 January 1891. At this stage no formal party organisation existed, but the formation of the Liberal ministry signalled the end of the system by which governments were made up of a loose and unstable coalition of independent MPs and the beginning of the 'party system'.


Party totals[edit]

Note that as the election was held before the establishment of formal political parties, the figures should only be regarded as an approximate indication of the division of political opinion.

Party Total votes Percentage Seats won
Liberal 76,548 56.1% 40
Opposition 39,338 28.9% 25
Independent 20,451 15.0% 9

Electorate results[edit]

The following table shows the results of the 1890 general election. Six European members were returned unopposed.[3]

Elected member
defeated candidates
MP's term
Bay of Islands
Held by R Hobbs
Robert Houston First
2nd: James Trounsen
3rd: John Lundon
4th: Joseph Dargaville
Held by R Thompson
Robert Thompson Second
2nd: Albert Elliott[5]
Held by R Monk
Jackson Palmer First
2nd: Richard Monk
Held by E Mitchelson
Edwin Mitchelson Fourth
2nd: Joseph Greenwood[6]
Held by E Withy
David Goldie Third
City of Auckland
New electorate
John Shera First
Thomas Thompson Third
William Lee Rees Second
4th: Adam Porter[7]
5th: William Joseph Napier
6th: James Wallis
7th: Harry Farnall
Held by F Moss
Frank Lawry Second
2nd: J M Lennox[9]
Held by GM O'Rorke
Frank Buckland Second
2nd:Maurice O'Rorke
3rd: Alex Grant[10]
New electorate
Ebenezer Hamlin Sixth
2nd: Benjamin Harris
Held by W Fraser
Alfred Cadman Fourth
2nd: Edmund Taylor
Held by JB Whyte
John Bryce Eight
Te Aroha
New electorate
William Shepherd Allen First
2nd: W Fraser
East Coast
Held by AC Arthur
William Kelly Third
2nd: AC Arthur
New Plymouth
Held by O Samuel
Edward Metcalf Smith First
2nd: John Elliot
3rd: Robert Hughes
Held by H Atkinson
Harry Atkinson Ninth
2nd: Felix McGuire
Held by J Ballance
John Ballance Sixth
2nd: Gilbert Carson
Held by G Hutchinson
George Hutchinson Second
2nd: Robert Bruce
Held by JD Ormond
George Henry Swan First
2nd: Michael Gannon
Hawke's Bay
Held by W Russell
William Russell Fifth
2nd: Charles William Reardon[11]
Held by T Tanner
William Cowper Smith Fourth
2nd: George Hunter
Held by RC Bruce
Douglas Hastings Macarthur Third
2nd: Francis Arkwright
New electorate
James Wilson Fourth
2nd: Frederick Pirani
3rd: John Stevens
Held by George Beetham
Alexander Hogg First
2nd: George Beetham
Held by W Buchanan
Walter Buchanan Fourth
2nd: Henry Bunny
Held by HS Fitzherbert
Alfred Newman Fourth
2nd: George Thomas London[12]
Charles Hayward Izard
City of Wellington
New electorate
George Fisher Third
John Duthie First
Kennedy Macdonald First
4th: Francis Bell
5th: Edwin George Jellicoe[13]
6th: Francis Humphris Fraser
7th: William McLean[14][15]
8th: Robert Winter[16]
Held by Joseph Harkness
Joseph Harkness Second
2nd: John Kerr
3rd: Francis William Flowerday
Held by A Seymour
Charles H. Mills First
2nd: Richmond Hursthouse
3rd: William Henry Phillips
Held by EJ O'Conor
Eugene O'Conor Fourth
Held by H Dodson
Lindsay Buick First
2nd: Arthur Seymour
3rd: Sutherland John Macalister[17]
Held by R Reeves
Richard Reeves Fourth
2nd: John Drake[18]
Held by AR Guinness
Arthur Guinness Third
2nd: William Hugh Jones[19]
New electorate
Richard Seddon Fifth
2nd: Joseph Grimmond
Held by J Verrall
Richard Meredith First
2nd: James Dupré Lance
3rd: John George Knight[20]
Held by E Richardson
Richard Moore First
2nd: William Hoban[20]
Held by E Blake
Edwin Blake Third
2nd: George Stead
City of Christchurch
New electorate
William Pember Reeves Second
Westby Perceval Second
Richard Molesworth Taylor Third
4th: John Tippett Smith
5th: Edward Wingfield Humphreys
6th: Eden George
Held by F Jones
William Tanner First
2nd: Heaton Rhodes
New electorate
William Rolleston Seventh
2nd: Francis Samuel Parker
Held by A McGregor
John Joyce Second
2nd: Alexander McGregor
3rd: William Barnett
Held by J Hall
Alfred Saunders Fifth
2nd: Thomas Hamilton Anson
3rd: William Jerrington Popple
New electorate
John Hall Seventh
2nd: John McLachlan
Held by W Walker
Edward George Wright Third
2nd: Rev. James Wright Sawle[21]
3rd: William Campbell Walker
4th: James Brown[22]
New electorate
Arthur Rhodes Second
2nd: Searby Buxton
Held by W Hall-Jones
William Hall-Jones Second
2nd: Edward George Kerr[23]
3rd: Jeremiah Twomey
4th: Samuel Frederick Smithson
5th: Philip E Thoreau
Held by WJ Steward
William Steward Fifth
2nd: Alpheus Hayes
Held by TY Duncan
John McKenzie Fourth
2nd: J C Buckland
3rd: George Bruce
Held by TW Hislop
Thomas Young Duncan Fourth
2nd: Thomas William Hislop
Mount Ida
Held by S Mackenzie
Scobie Mackenzie Third
2nd: Vincent Pyke
Held by J Mills
James Mills Third
2nd: John A. Millar
Held by W Larnach
William Earnshaw First
2nd: William Larnach
City of Dunedin
New electorate
David Pinkerton First
Henry Fish Third
William Hutchison Third
4th: James Allen[24]
5th: Richard Henry Leary[24]
6th: Alfred Lee Smith[24]
Dunedin Suburbs
New electorate
William Dawson First
2nd: Archibald Hilson Ross
3rd: Francis Wilkinson[24]
Held by J Fulton
Walter Carncross First
2nd: William Snow
3rd: William Barron
4th: Arthur John Burns
Held by C Anderson
James William Thomson Sixth
2nd: James Smith[25]
Held by J Brown
Hugh Valentine Second
2nd: James Clark Brown
Held by T Mackenzie
Thomas Mackenzie Second
Held by GF Richardson
George Richardson Third
2nd: John Gideon Fraser[26]
Held by T Fergus
Thomas Fergus Fourth
Held by S Hodgkinson
James Mackintosh First
2nd: Samuel Hodgkinson
3rd: Henry Hirst
Held by Henry Feldwick
James Whyte Kelly First
2nd: James Walker Bain
3rd: H Feldwick
Held by J Ward
Joseph Ward Second
Northern Maori[27]
Held by S Taiwhanga
Sydney Taiwhanga[nb 1] Second
2nd: Tinoti Pupipupi
3rd: Wi Katene
4th: Wiremu Mikihana
Eastern Maori[28]
Held by J Carroll
James Carroll Second
2nd: Wi Pere
3rd: Sydney Taiwhanga[nb 2]
4th: Timiwata Rinni
5th: Strum
Western Maori[29][30]
Held by H Taipua
Hoani Taipua Third
2nd: Pepene Eketone
3rd: Kipa Te Whatanui[nb 3]
4th: Te Kahui Kararahe
5th: Tatana Te Whataupoko
Southern Maori[31]
Held by T Parata
Tame Parata Third
2nd: Honi Maaka Hape
3rd: Riki Te Mairaki Taiaroa
4th: Thomas Ellison[nb 4]

Table footnotes:

  1. ^ Sydney Taiwhanga won the election and, despite having died on election day, was declared elected
  2. ^ Sydney Taiwhanga stood in both Eastern Maori and Northern Maori electorates
  3. ^ Rankings from the third place down are based on preliminary results only
  4. ^ Thomas Ellison was nominated under his Maori name Rangiwahia Erihana, mis-spelled in the source as Raniera Erihani

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Atkinson, Neill (2003), Adventures in Democracy: A History of the Vote in New Zealand, p.81
  2. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 54ff.
  3. ^ a b "The General Election, 1890". National Library. 1891. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "General elections 1853-2005 - dates & turnout". Elections New Zealand. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Marsden Electoral District". The Northern Advocate. 29 November 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Mr Greenwood's Dry Humour". Observer X (618). 1 November 1890. p. 4. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : M–Addenda II. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. p. 179. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Auckland City". Auckland Star XXI (280). 27 November 1890. p. 5. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "The Contest in Parnell". Auckland Star XXIV (280). 25 November 1893. p. 4. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Manukau Electors". The New Zealand Herald. XXVII (8427). 1 December 1890. p. 1. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Notabilia". Daily Telegraph (6007). 25 November 1890. p. 3. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Election News". The Evening Post XL (127). 26 November 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "Barristers And Solicitors". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  14. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "Wellington Ex-Members Of The House Of Representatives". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington. Retrieved 20 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "Nominations". The Southland Times (11591). 26 November 1890. p. 3. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Mr Robert Winter at Wellington". The Star (7000). 1 November 1890. p. 4. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1906). "Mr. Sutherland John Maclister". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts. Christchurch. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "General Election". Inangahua Times XV (20881). 17 November 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Public Notices". Grey River Argus. XXXIX (6871). 26 September 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Ashley Electoral District". The Press. XLVIL (7721). 28 November 1890. p. 8. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "Obituary". The Press LVI (16961). 9 October 1920. p. 3. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "Electoral District of Ashburton". Ashburton Guardian VII (2587). 1 December 1890. p. 3. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  23. ^ "History of The Timaru Herald". The Timaru Herald. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Election Notices". Otago Daily Times (9975). 29 November 1890. p. 3. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Bruce Electoral District". Bruce Herald XXI (2219). 28 November 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "Gore". Otago Witness (1918). 20 November 1890. p. 30. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  27. ^ "The Maori Representation". Otago Witness (1920). 4 December 1890. p. 15. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Election News". The Marlborough Express XXVI (321). 28 November 1890. p. 4. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  29. ^ "Telegrams". Inangahua Times XV (20887). 1 December 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  30. ^ "By Telegraph". The Southland Times (11568). 28 October 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "Maori Electorates". The Press. XLVIL (7694). 28 October 1890. p. 6. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 


  • Mackie, Thomas T.; Rose, Richard (1991). The International Almanac of Electoral History (3rd ed.). Macmillan. 
  • McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 

External links[edit]