William Reeves (journalist)

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William Reeves
William Reeves, Canterbury Museum.jpg
Portrait of William Reeves
Resident Minister for the Middle (South) Island
In office
Personal details
Born 10 February 1825
Clapham, Surrey, England
Died 4 April 1891(1891-04-04) (aged 66)
Risingholme, Opawa, Christchurch
Spouse(s) Ellen Pember
Children 8, including William Pember Reeves
Relatives Amber Reeves (granddaughter)
Occupation Owner of the Lyttelton Times

William Reeves (10 February 1825 – 4 April 1891) was a New Zealand 19th century journalist and politician. He was the father of the author and politician the Hon. William Pember Reeves.

Reeves was born in 1825 in Clapham, Surrey, England.[1]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1867–1868 4th Avon Independent
1871–1875 5th Selwyn Independent

He represented the Avon electorate from an 1867 by-election to 1868, when he resigned.[2] He contested the Selwyn electorate in 1871 against Edward Cephas John Stevens and had a majority of one vote.[3][4] He was Resident Minister for the Middle (South) Island in the 3rd Fox Ministry in 1871–1872.[5] The dominant topic for the 1875 election was the abolition of the Provinces. Reeves favoured the retention of the provincial system of government, whilst Cecil Fitzroy, 20 years his junior, was an abolitionist. Fitzroy narrowly won the election in the Selwyn electorate by 14 votes.[6][7] On 21 October 1884, Reeves was appointed to the New Zealand Legislative Council. He served until his death on 4 April 1891.[8]

He was a journalist and newspaper proprietor in Christchurch and Lyttelton, and was the principal proprietor of the Lyttelton Times, though he died virtually bankrupt (he had failed on the Stock Exchange in England before migrating to New Zealand).[9]

Reeves underwent an operation at the end of March 1891. Later in the week, complications set in and he died the following day on 4 April 1891 at his homestead 'Risingholme'.[10] He is buried at Barbadoes Street Cemetery[11] and it was the largest Christchurch funeral since William Sefton Moorhouse had died 10 years earlier.[12] Risingholme in the Christchurch suburb of Opawa was registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (now Heritage New Zealand) as a Category II heritage building on 24 June 2005.[13]

Reeves was survived by his wife and their eight children.[1] His son, William Pember Reeves, who became a dominant politician in New Zealand, was married to Maud Pember Reeves. Amber Reeves was his granddaughter.[14]


  1. ^ a b Bohan, Edmund. "Reeves, William - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 134.
  3. ^ "The General Elections" (838). The Star. 2 February 1871. p. 2. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "The General Elections" (839). The Star. 3 February 1871. p. 4. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 34.
  6. ^ "Mr. C. A. Fitzroy at Doyleston". The Press. XXIV (3218). 23 December 1875. p. 2. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Selwyn Poll". The Press. XXIV (3224). 31 December 1875. p. 2. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 83.
  9. ^ Biography of his son William Pember Reeves in the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
  10. ^ "Obituary". The Press. XLVIII (7829). 6 April 1891. p. 5. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Late Hon. W. Reeves". The Press. XLVIII (7830). 7 April 1891. p. 5. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "The Funeral". The Star (7131). 7 April 1891. p. 4. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Risingholme". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  14. ^ 16 July 2007


  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Crosbie Ward
Member of Parliament for Avon
Succeeded by
William Rolleston
Preceded by
Edward Cephas John Stevens
Member of Parliament for Selwyn
Succeeded by
Cecil Fitzroy