Robert Houston (New Zealand politician)

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Robert Houston
Robert Morrow Houston.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Bay of Islands
In office
Preceded by Richard Hobbs
Succeeded by Vernon Reed
Personal details
Born 1842
County Down, Ireland
Died 27 September 1912
Mangonui, New Zealand
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Christina Stewart

Robert Morrow Houston (1842 – 27 September 1912) was a Liberal Party Member of Parliament in New Zealand.

Early life[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1890–1893 11th Bay of Islands Liberal
1893–1896 12th Bay of Islands Liberal
1896–1899 13th Bay of Islands Liberal
1899–1902 14th Bay of Islands Liberal
1902–1905 15th Bay of Islands Liberal
1905–1908 16th Bay of Islands Liberal

Houston was born in 1842 in County Down, Ireland.[1] His father was Rev. T. Houston, DD.[2] He received his education at Belfast Academy and Queen's College, Belfast.[3] He emigrated to New Zealand on the Canterbury, arriving in Lyttelton on 10 January 1864. Later that year, he went to Auckland and then worked as a school teacher in Whangarei and Otara. After that, he became a storekeeper in Mangonui.[1]

In 1870, he married Christina Robertson "Tina" Stewart of Auckland.[1] Their son, Andrew Stewart Houston (born 1879), served in the Second Boer War.[4] Another son, Harold Edward Houston (born 1885), died in action in France in 1916.[5]

Political career[edit]

He was chairman of the Mangonui Town Board, chaired the Oruaiti District Board, and for 24 years chaired the Mangonui County Council.[1]

He was elected to the Bay of Islands electorate in the 1890 general election, and he represented the seat to 1908, when he retired.[6] In the 1890 election, he contested the electorate against James Trounsen, John Lundon and Joseph Dargaville. Houston, Trounsen, Lundon, and Dargaville received 465, 454, 385 and 352 votes, respectively.[7] He chaired the Native Affairs Committee for 15 years and stepped back from that role in 1906 for health reasons.[3] Whilst he was a strong supporter of Richard Seddon, he was of the conservative end of the liberal spectrum and caused his party whips quite a bit of trouble over the years.[8]


He died at Mangonui on 27 September 1912 aged 70 after a prolonged period of poor health.[8] He was survived by his wife.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d "Ladies, Gentlemen, and Others". New Zealand Truth (380). 5 October 1912. p. 4. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : A–L (PDF). I. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. pp. 415f. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Death of an Ex-M.P.". The Press. XLVIII (14475). 2 October 1912. p. 10. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "andrew stewart houston". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 9 February 2014. follow the link to the record on Archway for full details 
  5. ^ "Harold Edward Houston". New Zealand War Graves Project. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 206. OCLC 154283103. 
  7. ^ "The General Election, 1890". National Library. 1891. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Across the Straight". The Marlborough Express. XLVI (233). 1 October 1912. p. 2. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Personal Items". Dominion. 6 (1559). 1 October 1912. p. 4. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Richard Hobbs
Member of Parliament for Bay of Islands
Succeeded by
Vernon Reed