Henry Thacker

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The Honourable
Henry Thacker
formal seated portrait of a man with a moustache
Henry Thacker in 1918
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Christchurch East
In office
1914 – 1922
Preceded by Thomas Davey
Succeeded by Tim Armstrong
32nd Mayor of Christchurch
In office
Preceded by Henry Holland
Succeeded by James Arthur Flesher
Personal details
Born (1870-03-20)20 March 1870
Okains Bay, New Zealand
Died 3 May 1939(1939-05-03) (aged 69)
Nationality New Zealand
Political party New Zealand Liberal Party
Occupation doctor

Henry Thomas Joynt Thacker (20 March 1870 – 3 May 1939) was a doctor, New Zealand Member of Parliament and Mayor of Christchurch.

Early life[edit]

Thacker was born in Okains Bay on Banks Peninsula on 20 March 1870. His parents were Essy Joynt and John Edward Thacker. His father was an editor of the Sligo Guardian[1] and after emigration to Christchurch in 1850, launched the second newspaper in Canterbury, the Guardian and Canterbury Advertiser. The newspaper failed after only a few months.[2]

Henry Thacker attended Boys' High School and then Canterbury College (what is now known as the University of Canterbury), from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.[1][3] He then enrolled at Edinburgh University where he gained his M.B. and C.M. diplomas in 1895. Two years later he gained a fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.[4]

Return to New Zealand[edit]

Thacker returned to Christchurch in 1898 and opened a practice in Latimer Square. He represented Canterbury in rugby union in 1889 and 1891 and assisted in the development of Richard Arnst.[4] From 1899 he held the rank of Captain in the Army Medical Corps.

Rugby league[edit]

Thacker was the first president of the Canterbury Rugby Football League when the organisation began holding competitions in 1913. He served in this position from 1912 until 1929[5] and became a life member in 1920.[1] Thacker also donated the Thacker Shield in 1913.[6] He was the manager of the New Zealand side during their tour of Australia in 1913.[4]

Political career[edit]

Thacker was a member of the Christchurch Hospital Board (1907–1922), Lyttelton Harbour Board (1907–1922), Christchurch City Council (1929–1931) and Mayor of Christchurch between 1919 and 1923. The 1919 mayoral election was contested by Thacker, John Joseph Dougall (Mayor of Christchurch 1911–1912) and James McCombs (MP for Lyttelton).[7][8]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1914–1919 19th Christchurch East Liberal
1919–1922 20th Christchurch East Liberal

Thacker contested the 1908 and 1911 general elections without success in the Lyttelton and Christchurch East electorates, respectively.[4] He then contesting the Lyttelton by-election in 1913 as an independent Liberal, coming fourth with 5% of the vote in the first ballot.

Thacker was a member of the Liberal Party and represented the Christchurch East electorate in the New Zealand House of Representatives from 1914.[9] He was re-elected in 1919 but was defeated in 1922 by Tim Armstrong from the Labour Party, when he came second out of three candidates.[10][11]

In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.[12]


Thacker died on 3 May 1939 at Christchurch.[1] His wife died in 1955, and they are both buried at Waimairi Cemetery.[13] The Thackers had no children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Rice, Geoffrey W. "Thacker, Henry Thomas Joynt". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Hart, George Robert (1889). Stray Leaves from the Early History of Canterbury (PDF). Christchurch: Canterbury Caledonian Society. p. 42. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] [Medical]". Christchurch: Cyclopedia Company Limited. 1903. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Coffey, John. Canterbury XIII, Christchurch, 1987
  5. ^ Coffey and Wood The Kiwis: 100 Years of International Rugby League ISBN 1-86971-090-8
  6. ^ "Thacker Shield at stake". The Press. 13 April 2002. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  7. ^ G.H. Scholefield, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Vol. 2. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. p. 378. 
  8. ^ "Thacker's Triumph" (725). NZ Truth. 10 May 1919. p. 6. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  9. ^ Wilson, p.239 & Wood, p.103
  10. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
  11. ^ Wood, G. Anthony, ed. (1996). Ministers and Members: In the New Zealand Parliament. Dunedin: Otago University Press. 
  12. ^ "Official jubilee medals". The Evening Post. 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Greenaway, Richard L.N. (October 2002). "Waimairi Cemetery" (PDF). p. 14. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Thomas Davey
Member of Parliament for Christchurch East
Succeeded by
Tim Armstrong
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Holland
Mayor of Christchurch
Succeeded by
James Arthur Flesher