Robert Bruce (New Zealand politician)

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Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1884–1887 9th Rangitikei Independent
1887–1890 10th Rangitikei Independent
1892–1893 11th Rangitikei Independent

Robert Cunningham Bruce (1843 – 23 April 1917) was a Scottish-born sailor, New Zealand politician and conservationist.

Born in East Lothian, Scotland, Bruce's family moved to County Cork, Ireland, when he was seven years of age. He became an apprentice sailor at 13, leaving London on an East Indiaman.[1] He eventually arrived in New Zealand on the Blue Jacket in 1860.[2]

Bruce Park Memorial in Bruce Park Scenic Reserve

After working in the goldfields of New Zealand and Queensland, he went to the United States where he remained for several years. In 1877 he returned to New Zealand, buying land in Paraekaretu in the Manawatu region.[3]

Bruce was an independent conservative Member of Parliament in the Manawatu region of New Zealand. He represented the Rangitikei electorate from 1884 to 1890.[4] He contested the 1890 election in the Waitotara electorate, but was beaten by the incumbent, George Hutchison.[5] The Rangitiki electorate, meanwhile, was won by Douglas Hastings Macarthur in 1890, but Macarthur died on 24 May 1892.[6] The resulting 1892 by-election was won by Bruce.[4] He served until the end of the parliamentary term in 1893 when he retired.[4] He was one of three candidates to contest the new Manawatu electorate in the 1896 election, but he was narrowly beaten by John Stevens.[7] He challenged Stevens again in the 1899 election but was again defeated.[8]

Bruce was a notable pioneer of the Manawatu District, who preserved several native forest remnants, including Bruce Park Scenic Reserve.[9] Late in his life, he wrote a book about his experiences at sea.[10] He died at his homestead Carrick in the Wanganui suburb of St. Johns Hill on 23 April 1917.[11]



  1. ^ "A Striking Personality". The Evening Post. XCIII (99). 26 April 1917. p. 2. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Robert Bruce". The Northern Advocate. 3 May 1917. p. 1. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District". Victoria University of Wellington. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Wilson 1985, p. 186.
  5. ^ "The General Election, 1890". National Library. 1891. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 214.
  7. ^ "The General Election". Auckland Star. XXVII (305). 23 December 1896. p. 6. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "The General Election, 1899". Wellington: Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives. 19 June 1900. p. 2. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Bruce Park Loop Track". Department of Conservation. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Obituary". Manawatu Times. XL (137,224). 26 April 1917. p. 5. 
  11. ^ "Mr. R. C. Bruce, Ex-M.H.R.". The Evening Post. XCIII (99). 26 April 1917. p. 2. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 


  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
John Stevens
Member of Parliament for Rangitikei
Succeeded by
Douglas Macarthur
Preceded by
Douglas Macarthur
Succeeded by
John Stevens