James Parr (politician)

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(Christopher) James Parr, later known as Sir James Parr (18 May 1869 – 2 May 1941) was a New Zealand lawyer and politician of the Reform Party. He was Mayor of Auckland, a Member of Parliament representing the Eden electorate, a Minister in the Reform Government, High Commissioner in London and a Member of the New Zealand Legislative Council.

Early life[edit]

Parr was born in Pukerimu near Cambridge in 1869.[1]

Political career[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1914–1919 19th Eden Reform
1919–1922 20th Eden Reform
1922–1925 21st Eden Reform
1925–1926 22nd Eden Reform

Parr was Mayor of Auckland from 1911 to 1915, succeeded by Sir James Gunson.

He represented the electorate of Eden from 1914 to 1926.[2] He was Minister of Education (3 April 1920 – 24 April 1926) in three successive ministries of the Reform Government.[3] He was Minister of Public Health (3 April 1920 – 27 June 1923) under William Massey.[4] He was Minister of Justice (27 June 1923 – 18 January 1926) under Massey, Francis Bell and Gordon Coates.[3] He was Postmaster General and Minister of Telegraphs (30 May 1925 – 24 April 1926) under Coates.[5]

He resigned from Parliament on 26 March 1926 to take up his appointment as High Commissioner in London.[1][2] The resulting by-election was won by Rex Mason of the Labour Party,[6] because the Reform Party vote was split.

Parr was High Commissioner to the United Kingdom for just over three years (1 August 1926 – 31 December 1929).[7] On his return to New Zealand, he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council on 9 October 1931.[8] His wife died on 4 November 1933 and in mid November, he had been appointed High Commissioner again.[1] He resigned from the Legislative council effective 31 December 1933[8] and commenced his second term as High Commissioner the following day; a post that he held until 31 August 1936.[7] He retired in Berkhamsted, England and remarried there.[1]

Awards and death[edit]

Parr was made CMG in 1914, and KCMG in 1924.[2] He died on 2 May 1941 in Berkhamsted.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Bush, Graham W. A. "Parr, Christopher James 1869–1941". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Scholefield 1950, p. 131.
  3. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, pp. 45–46.
  4. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 45.
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 46.
  6. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 125.
  7. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 175.
  8. ^ a b Scholefield 1950, p. 82.


  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [3rd First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
John Bollard
Member of Parliament for Eden
Succeeded by
Rex Mason
Political offices
Preceded by
Lemuel Bagnall
Mayor of Auckland City
Succeeded by
James Gunson
Preceded by
Francis Bell
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Robert Alexander Wright
Minister of Public Health
Succeeded by
Maui Pomare
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Frank Rolleston
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Allen
High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Thomas Wilford
Preceded by
Thomas Wilford
Succeeded by
Bill Jordan