John Hall (New Zealand politician)

The Honourable
Sir John Hall
12th Premier of New Zealand
In office
8 October 1879  21 April 1882
Monarch Victoria
Governor Sir Hercules Robinson
Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon
Preceded by Sir George Grey (1879)
Succeeded by Frederick Whitaker (1882)
Constituency Selwyn
4th Colonial Secretary of New Zealand
In office
20 May 1856  2 June 1856
Governor Sir Thomas Gore Browne
1st Chairman of the Christchurch Town Council
In office
Succeeded by John Ollivier
26th Mayor of Christchurch
In office
Preceded by Charles Gray
Succeeded by George Payling
Personal details
Born (1824-12-18)18 December 1824
Kingston upon Hull, England
Died 25 June 1907(1907-06-25) (aged 82)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Political party Independent, leaning conservative
Spouse(s) Rose Dryden
Relations Mary Grigg (granddaughter)
Thomas Hall (nephew)[1]
Children 5
Religion Anglican[2]

Sir John Hall KCMG (c.18 December 1824 – 25 June 1907) was born in Kingston upon Hull, England, the third son of George Hall, a captain in the navy. At the age of ten he was sent to school in Switzerland and his education continued in Paris and Hamburg. After returning to England and being employed by the Post Office, at the age of 27 he decided to emigrate, later becoming the 12th Prime Minister of New Zealand. He was also Mayor of Christchurch.

Migration to New Zealand

After reading a book on sheep farming, Hall emigrated to New Zealand, on the Samarang, arriving in Lyttelton on 31 July 1852. His brothers George and Thomas followed him to New Zealand soon after. He developed one of the first large scale sheep farming runs in Canterbury.[2]

Political offices

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
18551860 2nd Christchurch Country Independent
18661870 4th Heathcote Independent
18711872 5th Heathcote Independent
18791881 7th Selwyn Independent
18811883 8th Selwyn Independent
18871890 10th Selwyn Independent
18901893 11th Ellesmere Independent

In 1853, he was elected to the Canterbury Provincial Council. He would later rise through the ranks of magistrate, was the first town council Chairman in Christchurch (the forerunner to the position of mayor, 1862 and 1863), and Postmaster-General. In Parliament he represented the electorates of Christchurch Country 1855–60 (resigned in early 1860[3]), Heathcote 1866–70 & 1871–72 (resigned), Selwyn 1879–83 (resigned) & 1887–90, and Ellesmere 1890–93 (retired).

In the 1865–66 election, he contested the Heathcote electorate against G. Buckley, and they received 338 and 239 votes, respectively.[4]

Premier of New Zealand

On 8 October 1879, he was appointed the Premier of New Zealand, where his ministry carried out reforms of the male suffrage (extending voting rights) and dealt with a conflict between settlers and Māori at Parihaka, although poor health caused him to resign the position less than three years later. In the 1882 Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.

Women's suffrage

Hall took an active interest in women's rights. He moved the Parliamentary Bill that gave women in New Zealand the vote (1893), (the first country in the world to do so), he became the honorary Mayor of Christchurch, for the New Zealand International Exhibition from 1 November 1906 to 15 April 1907.

Despite the distances involved, Hall made several visits back to England and maintained his contacts there, especially with the Leathersellers' Company,[5] of which he was a Liveryman for 55 years.

Hall had married Rose Dryden in England, daughter of William Dryden of Kingston upon Hull, after returning there in 1860.[6] They went back to New Zealand in 1863. They had five children and one of their granddaughters, Mary Grigg, later became an MP for the National Party.

Hall died in Christchurch on 25 June 1907, shortly after the International Exhibition had finished. He is buried in the St. John cemetery in Hororata.[7]


  1. O'Brien, Brian. "Thomas Hall". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. 1 2 Gardner, W. J. "Hall, John". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  3. "Rumoured Postponement Of The General Assembly". XV (1413). Wellington Independent. 16 March 1860. p. 3. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  4. "THE ELECTIONS." (747). Otago Witness. 24 March 1866. p. 11. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  5. Sir John Hall: Leatherseller and Prime Minister, by George Nicholson, The Leathersellers' Review 2006–07, pp 12-13
  6. A. H. McLintock, ed. (23 April 2009) [originally published in 1966]. "Hall, Hon. Sir John, K.C.M.G.". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  7.  White, Amber Blanco (1912). "Hall, John (1824-1907)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Hall (New Zealand).
Government offices
Preceded by
Henry Sewell
Colonial Secretary of New Zealand
Succeeded by
William Richmond
Preceded by
George Grey
Premier of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Frederick Whitaker
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Jerningham Wakefield
James Stuart-Wortley
Member of Parliament for Christchurch Country
Served alongside:
Dingley Askham Brittin, John Ollivier, Isaac Thomas Cookson
Succeeded by
Charles Hunter Brown
Preceded by
Alfred Cox
Member of Parliament for Heathcote
Succeeded by
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Preceded by
Cecil Fitzroy
Member of Parliament for Selwyn
Succeeded by
Edward Lee
Preceded by
Edward Wakefield
Succeeded by
Alfred Saunders
In abeyance
Title last held by
James FitzGerald
Member of Parliament for Ellesmere
Succeeded by
William Montgomery
Political offices
First Chairman of the Christchurch Town Council
Succeeded by
John Ollivier
Preceded by
Charles Gray
Mayor of Christchurch
Succeeded by
George Payling
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