Onehunga (New Zealand electorate)

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Onehunga, initially with the formal name of Town of Onehunga, is a former New Zealand parliamentary electorate in the south of the city of Auckland. Between 1861 and 1881, and between 1938 and 1996, it was represented by seven Members of Parliament. It was a stronghold for the Labour Party.

Population centres[edit]

In the 1860 electoral redistribution, the House of Representatives increased the number of representatives by 12, reflecting the immense population growth since the original electorates were established in 1853. The redistribution created 15 additional electorates with between one and three members, and Onehunga was one of the single-member electorates.[1] The electorates were distributed to provinces so that every province had at least two members. Within each province, the number of registered electors by electorate varied greatly.[1]

The 1931 census had been cancelled due to the Great Depression, so the 1937 electoral redistribution had to take ten years of population growth into account. The increasing population imbalance between the North and South Islands had slowed, and only one electorate seat was transferred from south to north. Five electorates were abolished, one former electorate (Onehunga) was re-established, and four electorates were created for the first time.[2]

The electorate was urban, and comprised a number of suburbs in the southern part of Auckland.


The electorate existed in the 19th century from 1861 to 1871 as Town of Onehunga, and then from 1871 to 1881 as Onehunga.[3] For the whole period the seat was held by George O'Rorke,[4] who became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1879.[5]

Onehunga was recreated in 1938,[3] and lasted to 1996. With the introduction of MMP in 1996, Onehunga and Panmure were combined into the new electorate of Maungakiekie.

Except for 1990–1993, Onehunga was held by Labour from its 1938 recreation.

Members of Parliament[edit]

The Onehunga electorate was represented by seven Members of Parliament.


 Independent    Labour    National  

Election Winner
(electorate established as Town of Onehunga in 1860)
1861 election George O'Rorke
1866 election
(electorate renamed Onehunga in 1871)
1871 election George O'Rorke
1875 election
1879 election
(Electorate abolished 1881–1938)
1938 election Arthur Osborne
1943 election
1946 election
1949 election
1951 election
1953 by-election Hugh Watt
1954 election
1957 election
1960 election
1963 election
1966 election
1969 election
1972 election
1975 election Frank Rogers
1978 election
1980 by-election Fred Gerbic
1981 election
1984 election
1987 election
1990 election Grahame Thorne
1993 election Richard Northey
(Electorate abolished in 1996)

Election results[edit]

1980 by-election[edit]

Onehunga by-election, 1980
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Fred Gerbic 6,543 48.11
National Sue Wood 5,336 39.24
Social Credit T K Wood 1,535 11.29
Independent S C Perry 134 0.99
Cheer Up V L B Terreni 35 0.26
Imperial British Conservative J M Overton 17 0.13
Majority 1,207 8.89
Turnout 13,600
Labour hold Swing

1953 by-election[edit]

Onehunga by-election, 1953[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Hugh Watt 6,868 66.99
National L. G. Bradley 3,385 33.01
Majority 3,483 33.97
Informal votes 13 0.13
Turnout 13,749 63.48
Registered electors 16,171
Labour hold Swing


  1. ^ a b McRobie 1989, p. 35.
  2. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 87–92.
  3. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 269.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 225.
  5. ^ Rogers, Frank. "O'Rorke, George Maurice". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Norton 1988, p. 295.


  • McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8. 
  • Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand parliamentary election results, 1946–1987. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington Department of Political Science. ISBN 0-475-11200-8. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.