Hiram Hunter

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Hiram Hunter
Hiram Hunter.jpg
Christchurch City Councillor
In office
In office
2nd President of the Social Democratic Party
In office
Vice President Frederick Cooke
Preceded by Edward Tregear
Succeeded by Frederick Cooke
Personal details
Born 10 February 1874
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died 9 May 1966
Ashburton, New Zealand
Political party Labour (1910-13)
Social Democratic (1913-16)
Labour (1916-31)
National (1938-66)
Spouse(s) Jane Bayliss

Hiram Hunter (10 February 1874 – 9 May 1966) was a New Zealand politician and trade unionist.

Early life[edit]

Born in Christchurch in 1874, Hunter was a farmer, storekeeper, carter, and trade unionist.[1]

Political career[edit]

Hunter stood for the Christchurch East electorate in the New Zealand House of Representatives in 1911 for the Labour Party (original), 1914 for the Social Democratic Party and 1919 for the New Zealand Labour Party. His best result was losing by 136 votes in 1911 in a close three-way contest, and failing to qualify for the subsequent run-off election by just four votes. He was President of the LRC[clarification needed] (1911–1913) and of the Social Democratic Party (1913–1915). In 1931, he contested the Mid-Canterbury electorate as an Independent Labour candidate against Jeremiah Connolly, but was unsuccessful.[2]

During the 1930s, Hunter became increasingly disillusioned with the NZ Labour Party and argued that: "We have learned much of socialisation through its application in Russia. The result has been servility for the workers under the domination of dictators and, what seemed a book of beautiful ideal in 1915 has turned out to be in practice, a horrible reality".[3] In 1938 he stood for the conservative National Party against his former Labour comrade Dan Sullivan who beat him by a three to one margin, with the election-night crowd booing him so loudly his speech could not be heard leaving Hunter with an undignified end to his public career.[1]

Hiram Hunter was a member of the Christchurch City Council for ten years (1911–1915; 1917–1923).[4]


Hunter died in 1966 at Ashburton.[1]


  1. ^ a b c McAloon, Jim. "Hunter, Hiram - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Gustafson 1980, p. 159.
  3. ^ (The Christchurch Press, 6 October 1938)
  4. ^ "Councillors of the City of Christchurch". Christchurch: Christchurch City Council. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 


  • Gustafson, Barry (1980). Labour's path to political independence: the origins and establishment of the NZ Labour Party 1900–1919. Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press. ISBN 0-19-647986-X. 
Party political offices
Preceded by
Edward Tregear
President of the Social Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Frederick Cooke