William Jarvis Willis

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Koreromaiwaho, the farm of Willis in the Rangitikei

William Jarvis Willis (1840 – 1 March 1884) was a 19th-century Member of Parliament in the Manawatu region of New Zealand.


Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1879–1880 7th Rangitikei Independent

Willis was born in Sussex, England, the son of Rev. Thomas Willis and his wife Maria Augusta Lowe. He was educated at Eton College and then obtained a commission as ensign in the 14th Regiment.[1] The regiment went to New Zealand in 1861 and he was Lieutenant and adjutant to the 2nd Battalion until the end of the war. He sold out in England and settled in New Zealand where he was appointed resident magistrate in Wairarapa. He took a farm at Marton adjoining the one of William Fox.[2] Willis continued to act as Chairman of Petty Sessions for Rangitikei. During the confrontations with Maori, he was major in command of militia and volunteers in Rangitikei and Manawatu. He was appointed resident magistrate for the district in December 1863.[3] In 1864 he purchased land near Marton which he called Woodendean. He soon introduced the first Romney sheep into the district.

In 1879 Willis resigned from the bench to contest Rangitikei seat as supporter of John Hall. He defeated C L MacLean but because of poor health he resigned early in 1880.[4] He was chairman of the Upper Rangitikei Highways board, a member of the Rangitikikei County Council and in later years chairman of Porena, Marton and Paraekaretu licensing benches.

Willis married Amelia Riddisford daughter of D Riddesford. They had four daughters but Amelia died. He wanted to marry her sister, but had to go to Australia to do so as it was then legal there but not in New Zealand. He had children by his second marriage of whom three sons and a daughter married and had children.

Willis died at Woodendean, Greatford aged 44.[5]


  1. ^ The London Gazette 23 April 1858
  2. ^ William Fox (c. 1864). "[Fox, William] 1812-1893 :Koreromawhia, Rangitikei, N. Zeald. Koreromawhia, Mr Willis (late 14th Regt) adjoining my own place Rangitikei. [1864?]". National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Daily Southern Cross, Volume XIX, Issue 1999, 12 December 1863, Page 3
  4. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840-1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 246. OCLC 154283103. 
  5. ^ Feilding Star, Volume V, Issue 26, 4 March 1884, Page 2
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
John Ballance
Member of Parliament for Rangitikei
Succeeded by
William Fox