Robert Alexander Wright

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Robert Alexander Wright
Robert Alexander Wright.jpg
21st Mayor of Wellington
In office
Preceded byJohn Luke
Succeeded byCharles Norwood
Personal details
Born8 August 1863
Dunedin, New Zealand
Died6 December 1947(1947-12-06) (aged 84)
Wellington, New Zealand
Political partyReform
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Coulter
RelationsHercules Richard Wright (brother)
Childrentwo daughters

Robert Alexander Wright (8 August 1863 – 6 December 1947) was the Mayor of Wellington from 1921 to 1925, and a New Zealand politician of the Reform Party.


Parliamentary career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1908–1909 17th Wellington South Independent
1909–1911 Changed allegiance to: Reform
1914–1919 19th Wellington Suburbs and Country Reform
1919–1922 20th Wellington Suburbs Reform
1922–1925 21st Wellington Suburbs Reform
1925–1928 22nd Wellington Suburbs Reform
1928–1931 23rd Wellington Suburbs Reform
1931–1935 24th Wellington Suburbs Reform
1935–1938 25th Wellington Suburbs Independent

He represented the Wellington South electorate in Parliament from 1908 to 1911 when he was defeated, then the Wellington Suburbs and Country electorate from 1914 to 1919 and the Wellington Suburbs electorate from 1919 to 1938. In the 1935 contest Wright stood as an Independent and was successful.[1] He was defeated for the Wellington West electorate in 1938.[1] In 1935 and 1938 he was not opposed by the National Party, and he habitually voted with National.[2]

He was Minister of Education from 1926 to 1928 in the Reform Government. Towards the end of the Coates Ministry, he was Minister of Labour for less than a fortnight.[3]

He was to stand for the National Party for Wellington Suburbs in the 1941 general election, which was postponed to 1943 because of the war.[4]

Local politics[edit]

Wright was elected to the Wellington City Council in 1913, and stood for and was elected Mayor of Wellington in 1921, the same time as Wellington's first female Councillor, Annie McVicar, was elected. Wright was Mayor until 1925.[5] On 31 October 1924 Wright opened the de Lux Theatre on the corner of Cambridge Terrace and Majoribanks Street. In 1930 the building was sold and renamed the Embassy Theatre and was the site of the premiere of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.[6]


He was born in Dunedin to Robert and Lydia Esther Wright, who moved to Hokitika on the West Coast when he was an infant. They had nine children; a brother, Hercules Richard Wright was a notable Rugby League player. Robert was educated at the Scots Grammar School. He married Elizabeth Coulter from the Wairarapa in 1898, and they had two daughters. He was a printer with the Government Printing Office, then for 17 years with the New Zealand Mail. Then with W. J. Carman he founded the printing firm of Wright and Carman. He was a member of the Church of Christ. He died at home in Kelburn, Wellington.[7]


  1. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 247.
  2. ^ Milne, Robert Stephen (1966). Political Parties in New Zealand. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. p. 76.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 79.
  4. ^ Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. p. 295. ISBN 0-474-00177-6.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Cutting-edge technology in historic surroundings".
  7. ^ Obituary in Evening Post, Wellington, 8 December 1947 page 8


  • Perry, Stuart (1969), No Mean City, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Wellington City Council
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
Political offices
Preceded by
John Luke
Mayor of Wellington
Succeeded by
Charles Norwood
Preceded by
James Parr
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Harry Atmore
New Zealand Parliament
In abeyance
Title last held by
John Luke
Member of Parliament for Wellington Suburbs
Succeeded by
Harry Combs