Reader Wood

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Reader Gilson Wood (1821–1895) was a 19th-century New Zealand politician.


Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1861–1865 3rd Parnell Independent
1870 4th Parnell Independent
1871–1875 5th Parnell Independent
1875–1878 6th Parnell Independent
1879–1881 7th Waitemata Independent

Wood was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School, London.[1] He was brought up as an architect, and shortly after his articles had expired left England for New Zealand, arriving in Auckland in 1844.[1] The northern insurrection breaking out in the following year, Mr. Wood was made lieutenant of Volunteer Artillery, and was present at the attempted storming of Heke's Pah at Ohaeawai on 1 July 1845. He was mentioned in Colonel Despard's despatch describing that disastrous affair.[1] After the war Mr. Wood returned to Auckland, where he practised his profession of architect and surveyor. About 1848 he was employed by the Government as Inspector of Roads, afterwards he was appointed Deputy Surveyor-General, which office he retained until 1856.[1] In 1850 he married Mary Jane Holland.

Wood was the Member of Parliament for Parnell from 1861 to 1865 (resigned), then 1870 to 1878 (resigned); then for Waitemata from 1879 to 1881, when he retired.[2]

He was a cabinet minister, including the positions of Minister of Finance (then called Colonial Treasurer) twice, and Minister of Defence (then called Minister of Colonial Defence). He was part of the Auckland wing of the Liberal Party, sometimes called the "Auckland Rats".

He stood in the 1887 election in the Waitemata electorate and was defeated by Richard Monk.[3][4]

He died in Parnell, Auckland, leaving one son.


  1. ^ a b c d Mennell, Philip (1892). "Wikisource link to Wood, Hon. Reader Gilson". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource
  2. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 247.
  3. ^ "Waitemata". Auckland Star. XVIII (218). 17 September 1887. p. 8. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 220.


New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
John Macfarlane
Member of Parliament for Waitemata
Succeeded by
William Hurst