Arthur Guinness (New Zealand politician)

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Sir Arthur Guinness
Arthur Robert Guinness, 1900s.jpg
Arthur Guinness in the 1900s
7th Speaker of the House of Representatives
In office
1903 – 10 June 1913
Prime MinisterRichard Seddon
Preceded byMaurice O'Rorke
Succeeded byFrederic Lang
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Grey (previously Greymouth)
In office
1884 – 10 June 1913
Succeeded byPaddy Webb
Personal details
Born(1846-01-11)11 January 1846
Calcutta, India
Died10 June 1913(1913-06-10) (aged 67)
Political partyLiberal
FatherFrank Guinness

Sir Arthur Robert Guinness (11 January 1846 – 10 June 1913) was a New Zealand politician, and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Personal information[edit]

He was born in Calcutta, India, son of Frank Guinness, who arrived at Lyttelton by the ship Tory in August 1852.[1] He was educated at Christ's College, Christchurch 1854–1859 (being no. 31 on the list).[2] He received his legal education from Edward Harston and then from Garrick and Cowlishaw,[3] before being admitted to the bar in 1867.[4] He then practised as a barrister and solicitor in Greymouth,[4] where he served on the Westland Provincial Council from 1874–1876,[5] and was then a member of the Grey County Council from 1876–1890, including nine as its chair.[4]

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1884–1887 9th Greymouth Independent
1887–1890 10th Greymouth Independent
1890–1893 11th Grey Liberal
1893–1896 12th Grey Liberal
1896–1899 13th Grey Liberal
1899–1902 14th Grey Liberal
1902–1905 15th Grey Liberal
1905–1908 16th Grey Liberal
1908–1911 17th Grey Liberal
1911–1913 18th Grey Liberal

Guinness first stood for two-member Grey Valley in the 1876 election and out of the four candidates, he came last.[6] In his second attempt in 1884, he defeated the incumbent, Joseph Petrie, in the single-member electorate that was by now called Greymouth.[4] He remained a member of the House of Representatives for Greymouth until 1890, and then represented the Grey electorate until his death in 1913. He belonged to the Liberal Party.[7]

He was Chairman of Committees from 1893 to 1902,[8] then the 7th Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1903 until his death in 1913.[9] Upon the death of William Steward on 30 October 1912, he became Father of the House.[10] When he died, his replacement from the Grey by-election was Paddy Webb, who was elected on the second ballot with Liberal support.[11]


In 1875, Guinness married Elisabeth Westbrook, daughter of Mr James Westbrook of Launceston.[1] He was knighted in 1911.[7] Guinness died on 10 June 1913 and is buried at Greymouth Cemetery.[12]

He was a great-grandson of his namesake the Dublin brewer Arthur Guinness (1725–1803).


  1. ^ a b Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1897, p. 105.
  2. ^ Christ’s College Old Boys’ Association 1997.
  3. ^ Scholefield 1940, p. 179.
  4. ^ a b c d Scholefield 1940, pp. 335f.
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 244.
  6. ^ "Grey Valley Election". Grey River Argus. XXI (2321). 18 January 1876. p. 2. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 201.
  8. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 252.
  9. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 250.
  10. ^ "The Late Sir Arthur Guinness". Colonist. LV (13752). 18 June 1913. p. 1. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  11. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 244.
  12. ^ "The Late Sir A. R. Guinness". Grey River Argus. 13 June 1913. p. 4. Retrieved 25 August 2014.


Political offices
Preceded by
William Lee Rees
Chairman of Committees of the House of Representatives
Succeeded by
John A. Millar
Preceded by
Maurice O'Rorke
Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Frederic Lang
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Joseph Petrie
Member of Parliament for Greymouth
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Grey
Succeeded by
Paddy Webb