G. M. Thomson

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George Malcolm Thomson (2 October 1848 – 25 August 1933) was a New Zealand scientist, educationalist, social worker and politician.[1]


New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1908–1909 17th Dunedin North Independent
1909–1911 Changed allegiance to: Reform
1911–1914 18th Dunedin North Reform

Born on 2 October 1848 in Calcutta, Thomson grew up in Scotland, being educated at the Edinburgh High School and the University of Edinburgh. At the age of 20, he emigrated to New Zealand, and, apart from a short period farming at Mabel Bush, Southland, spent the rest of his life in Dunedin. He was said to "know his Dunedin like a book".[2]

Thomson's scientific interests were wide, including fisheries, crustaceans and the naturalisation of species.[2] Thomson was one of the first scientists to recognise the potential for invasive species to be introduced via ship's ballast.[3] He helped establish the Portobello Marine Laboratory in 1904.[4]

Outside science, he founded many organisations, and was a member of the New Zealand Parliament for Dunedin North from the 1908 election for two parliamentary terms to 1914 and a member of the Legislative Council from 7 May 1918 for two seven year terms until 6 May 1932.[5]

Thomson was President of the Royal Society of New Zealand between 1907 and 1909; preceded by James Hector and followed by Augustus Hamilton.[6]

Thomson died in Dunedin on 25 August 1933.[1]


  1. ^ a b Speirs, E. Yvonne. "Thomson, George Malcolm - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b George Griffiths (2004). "‘Mr G. M.Thomson, who knows his Dunedin like a book...’" (PDF). Friends of the Hocken Collections Bulletin. 48. 
  3. ^ D. A. Pollard & P. A. Hutchings (1980). "A review of exotic marine organisms introduced to the Australian region. II. Invertebrates and Algae". Asian Fisheries Science. 3: 223–250. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Martin, E R (1969). Marine Department Centennial History 1866-1966. Wellington: Government Printer. pp. 124–6. 
  5. ^ Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. pp. 86, 143. 
  6. ^ "Royal Society Te Aparangi - Presidents". Royal Society of New Zealand . 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Alfred Richard Barclay
Member of Parliament for Dunedin North
Succeeded by
Andrew Walker