William Gisborne

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William Gisborne
William Gisborne, circa 1895.jpg
William Gisborne ca 1895
Member of the New Zealand Legislative Council
In office
2 July 1869 – 11 January 1871
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Egmont
In office
18 January 1871 – 10 September 1872
Preceded by New constituency
Succeeded by Harry Atkinson
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Totara
In office
1877 – 8 November 1881
Preceded by George Henry Tribe
Succeeded by Electorate abolished
Personal details
Born 13 August 1825
Derbyshire, England
Died 7 January 1898(1898-01-07) (aged 72)
Allestree Hall, Allestree, Derby, England
Spouse(s) Caroline Gertrude Bridgen (m. 1861, d. 1908)
Relations Thomas Gisborne (grandfather)
Thomas Gisborne the Younger (uncle)
William Evans (brother-in-law)
Residence Allestree Hall
Occupation public servant

William Gisborne (13 August 1825 – 7 January 1898) was Colonial Secretary of New Zealand 1869–1872 and Minister of Public Works 1870–1871. The city of Gisborne in New Zealand, and the township in Victoria, Australia are named after him.

Early life[edit]

Gisborne was born in 1825. He was the third son of Thomas John Gisborne (1789–1868) of Holme Hall, near Bakewell in Derbyshire, England. His mother was Sarah Gisborne (née Krehmer).[1] His grandfather was Thomas Gisborne (1758–1846), who fought for the abolition of the slave trade in England. Thomas Gisborne the Younger (1790–1852) was an uncle who represented various constituencies in the House of Commons between 1830 and 1852. His eldest sister, Mary, married William Evans, who would later be made a baronet.

William Gisborne emigrated to Australia in 1842 and to New Zealand in 1847. He was initially secretary to Edward John Eyre, the lieutenant governor of New Munster Province. He was then appointed commissioner of Crown lands, a role for which he moved to New Zealand's capital, Auckland.[1]

Gisborne returned to England for 1852 and 1853. Afterwards, he held various roles as a civil servant. He resigned from the civil service in 1869.[1]

Gisborne married Caroline Gertrude Bridgen at St Mary's Church in the Auckland suburb of Parnell, and the couple had four children (one son, three daughters).[1]

Political career[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1871–1872 5th Egmont Independent
1877–1879 6th Totara Independent
1879–1881 7th Totara Independent

The reason for Gisborne's resignation from the civil service was for him to be able to take on the role of Colonial Secretary in the third Fox Ministry.[1] He was appointed to the New Zealand Legislative Council on 2 July 1869, and resigned on 11 January 1871.[2] A week later, he was elected to the New Zealand Parliament in the 1871 general election for the Egmont electorate. He resigned on 10 September 1872.[3] In December 1875, Gisborne was a strong candidate for the Wellington mayoralty, but he fell out with the public over him favouring denominational education. In addition, he then announced himself as a candidate for the 1875 general election in the City of Wellington electorate, and that triggered a concerted effort to find a suitable mayoral opponent. When Gisborne lost the mayoral election against William Hutchison, he withdraw from the general election.[4]

Gisborne then represented the Totara electorate from a 1877 by-election,[3] following the death of George Henry Tribe.[5] He was re-elected at the 1879 election and served until the end of that term of Parliament in 1881.[3]

Later life[edit]

He returned to England in 1881 following the death of his elder brother Francis. In 1892 he inherited Allestree Hall from his brother-in-law, Sir William Evans, 1st Baronet, and died there in 1898.[1] His wife died in 1908.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bohan, Edmund. "Gisborne, William". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 11 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 77.
  3. ^ a b c Scholefield 1950, p. 108.
  4. ^ "Wellington". The Star (2425). 30 December 1875. p. 3. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 144.


  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. 
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Egmont
Succeeded by
Harry Atkinson