Oswald Curtis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Oswald Curtis

Oswald Curtis (1821–1902) was a 19th-century New Zealand politician born in London, England, on 20 January 1821. He was the son of Stephen Curtis and Eleanora Llewellyn. He migrated to Nelson in 1853, arriving on 18 June.[1][2]

Mahomed Shah[edit]

Curtis had been a passenger on the barque Mahomed Shah. The ship sailed from England for New Zealand on 15 January 1853. On 18 April, about 400 miles south of Cape Leeuwin, the ship caught fire. All on board were rescued two days later by the brig The Ellen under Captain Pardon. The Ellen was sailing from Mauritius to Hobart. The ship's position was given as 40°10′00″S 119°10′00″E / 40.16667°S 119.16667°E / -40.16667; 119.16667.[3] Those rescued were taken to Hobart, arriving there on 6 May 1853.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1866–1870 4th City of Nelson Independent
1871–1875 5th City of Nelson Independent
1875–1879 6th City of Nelson Independent

He was a member of the Nelson Provincial Council from 1857 to 1867,[4] becoming its Superintendent in March 1867 when Alfred Saunders resigned. He remained Superintendent until 1876 when the Provinces were abolished.[5] Curtis was also a Member of Parliament for the City of Nelson from 1866 to 1879, when he was defeated.[6] During his term as a member of Parliament, for one month between 10 September and 11 October 1872 Curtis was Commissioner of Stamps and Customs, Post-Master General and Telegraphs Commissioner under the short lived third Stafford Ministry.[7]

As Superintendent, Curtis opened the Nelson Waterworks on 16 April 1868 and turned the first sod at Stoke for the cutting of the Nelson-Foxhill Railway on 6 May 1873.[8]

Community service[edit]

Curtis had been, at various times, Magistrate, Warden, Coroner, College Governor at Nelson. He was also Fellow of the New Zealand University and held a seat on its senate from 1870 to 1888.[9]

Curtis was also the second President of the Nelson Chamber of Commerce, succeeding Alfred Fell (father of Charles Fell).[10]

He died at his residence 'Highbury' in Nelson on 1 March 1902 aged 81.[11]


  1. ^ Obituary, Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XXXVI, Issue 52, 3 March 1902, Page 2
  2. ^ Obituary, Colonist, Volume XLV, Issue 10347, 3 March 1902, Page 2
  3. ^ A pioneer settler, Colonist, Volume LXII, Issue 15326, 15 March 1920, Page 5
  4. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 212.
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 209.
  6. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 102.
  7. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 34.
  8. ^ The Nelson Waterworks, Colonist, Volume XLVII, Issue 11294, 30 March 1905, Page 2
  9. ^ Obituary, Star, Issue 7362, 3 March 1902, Page 3
  10. ^ Early History of the Chamber of Commerce, Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XLIII, 8 June 1909, Page 2
  11. ^ Death, Colonist, Volume XLV, Issue 10347, 3 March 1902, Page 2


  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Alfred Saunders
Superintendent of Nelson Province
Provincial Councils abolished
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Alfred Domett
Member of Parliament for Nelson
Served alongside: Edward Stafford, Nathaniel Edwards, Martin Lightband, David Luckie, John Sharp, Acton Adams
Succeeded by
Albert Pitt