1881 in New Zealand
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Regal and viceregal
Government and law
- Speaker of the House — Maurice O'Rorke.
- Premier — John Hall (New Zealand)
- Minister of Finance — Harry Atkinson
- Chief Justice — Hon Sir James Prendergast
Main centre leaders
- Mayor of Auckland — James Clark
- Mayor of Christchurch — Charles Thomas Ick followed by James Gapes
- Mayor of Dunedin — Archibald Hilson Ross followed by James Gore
- Mayor of Wellington — William Hutchison
- 1 October – The first telephone exchange in New Zealand is opened in Christchurch.
- 24 October – A telephone exchange is opened in Auckland.
- The Auckland Association is formed.
- An Australian team tours the country playing twelve matches against provincial teams. None of the games have first-class status, with the home teams fielding between 12 and 22 players. Australia suffered one loss, but 10 wickets to the Wanganui XXII. Itinerary
- New Zealand Cup winner: Grip
- New Zealand Derby winner: The Dauphin
- Auckland Cup winner: King Quail
- Wellington Cup winner: Natator
Provincial club rugby champions include:
- see also Category:Rugby union in New Zealand
Ballinger Belt: Lieutenant Paynter (Nelson)
- 16 January: Hercules Wright, rugby union player.
- 14 February (in Australia): George Skellerup, industrialist
- 6 April: Walter Broadfoot, politician.
- 15 September William Sefton Moorhouse, politician.
- Paora Te Potangaroa, Māori prophet.
- List of years in New Zealand
- Timeline of New Zealand history
- History of New Zealand
- Military history of New Zealand
- Timeline of the New Zealand environment
- Timeline of New Zealand's links with Antarctica
- Romanos, J. (2001) New Zealand Sporting Records and Lists. Auckland: Hodder Moa Beckett. ISBN 1-86958-879-7
- A. C. Wilson. 'Telecommunications - Telephones, 1877–1914', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 4-Jul-12
- Todd, S. (1976) Sporting Records of New Zealand. Auckland: Moa Publications. ISBN 0-908570-00-7
Media related to 1881 in New Zealand at Wikimedia Commons