William Fitzherbert (New Zealand politician)

For other uses, see William Fitzherbert.
The Honourable
Sir William Fitzherbert

Seated portrait of Sir William Fitzherbert
5th Speaker of the Legislative Council
In office
Preceded by John Richardson
Succeeded by George Waterhouse
In office
Preceded by George Waterhouse
Succeeded by Harry Atkinson
4th Speaker of the House of Representatives
In office
Preceded by Dillon Bell
Succeeded by Maurice O'Rorke
8th Colonial Treasurer
In office
24 November 1864  16 October 1865
Prime Minister Frederick Weld
Preceded by Reader Wood
Succeeded by Edward Stafford
In office
24 August 1866  28 June 1869
Prime Minister Edward Stafford
Preceded by Francis Jollie
Succeeded by Julius Vogel
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Hutt
In office
Serving with Isaac Featherston
Charles Clifford
Preceded by Alfred Renall
Alfred Ludlam
Succeeded by Henry Jackson
2nd Superintendent of Wellington Province
In office
28 April 1871  1 January 1877
Preceded by Isaac Featherston
Succeeded by None (office abolished)
Personal details
Born 15 August 1810
Died 6 February 1891(1891-02-06) (aged 80)
Lower Hutt
New Zealand
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Sarah Jane Leigh
Relations Patrick Buckley (son in law)
Children Henry
Profession politician, merchant

Sir William Fitzherbert KCMG (15 August 1810 – 6 February 1891) was a New Zealand politician. He served as Minister of Finance, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Speaker of the Legislative Council.

Early life

Fitzherbert was born in Dorset, England, on 15 August 1810, and studied medicine in Paris and London. Late in 1840 or early 1841 he married Sarah Jane Leigh in London. They came to New Zealand in 1841, settling in Wellington.[1]

Political career

Member of Parliament

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
18551858 2nd Town of Wellington Independent
18581860 2nd Hutt Independent
18601866 3rd Hutt Independent
18661870 4th Hutt Independent
18711875 5th Hutt Independent
18751879 6th Hutt Independent

He soon became active in politics, serving both on the Wellington Provincial Council and in the New Zealand Parliament. He was elected to the 2nd Parliament as a representative of the City of Wellington electorate, but resigned part way through the term to successfully seek election as representative for the Hutt electorate, which happened on 31 July 1858. He contested the general election on 29 December 1875 against William Hutchison and obtained 178 votes, with Hutchison receiving 38.[2] He retained the Hutt electorate until his resignation in 1879, so that he could appointed to the Legislative Council. He also served as Colonial Treasurer (Minister of Finance) for the duration of Frederick Weld's premiership.[3][4]

His son Henry represented the Hutt electorate from 1884–90.[3][5] His other son, William, later became Mayor of Lower Hutt.[6][7]

Wellington Province

Fitzherbert was Superintendent of the Wellington Province from 1871 until the abolition of the provinces in 1876. The Palmerston North suburb of Aokautere was once named after Fitzherbert, as he had promoted settlement of the Manawatu. The Fitzherbert East Dairy Factory building still carries the name these days.[8]

Speaker of the House

He served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1876 until his appointment to the Legislative Council, and then as Speaker of the Legislative Council until his death.[4]

He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1877.[4]


Fitzherbert died on 6 February 1891 at his residence in Lower Hutt. He was buried at Lower Hutt cemetery on 10 February next to his late wife, who had died on 21 August 1886.[5]

He was survived by his two sons (one of whom was William Alfred Fitzherbert) and his daughter Alice Jane, who married Sir Patrick Buckley.[4]


There are several streets in Wainuiomata bearing his name. The peak of the Eastern Hills dividing Naenae and Wainuiomata and its television relay mast is named Mount Fitzherbert.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to William Fitzherbert.


  1. Hamer, David. "Fitzherbert, William". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  2. "The Hutt Election". The Evening Post. XII (154). 30 December 1875. p. 2. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  3. 1 2 Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Campbell, Keith Kennedy (23 April 2009). "Fitzherbert, Sir William, K.C.M.G.". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  5. 1 2 "Obituary". The Evening Post. XLI (33). 9 February 1891. p. 2. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  6. Platts, Una (1980). "Fitzherbert, William Alfred 1843–1906". Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook. Christchurch: Avon Fine Prints. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  7. Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "General". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  8. "Aokautere". OurRegion Manawatu. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
Political offices
Preceded by
Reader Wood
Colonial Treasurer
Succeeded by
Edward Stafford
Preceded by
Isaac Featherston
Superintendent of Wellington Province
Provincial Councils abolished
Preceded by
Dillon Bell
Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Maurice O'Rorke
Preceded by
John Richardson
Speaker of the New Zealand Legislative Council
Succeeded by
George Waterhouse
Preceded by
George Waterhouse
Succeeded by
Harry Atkinson
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Robert Hart
James Kelham
Member of Parliament for Wellington
Served alongside: Isaac Featherston, Charles Clifford
Succeeded by
William Barnard Rhodes
Preceded by
Dillon Bell
Samuel Revans
Member of Parliament for Hutt
Served alongside: Alfred Renall, Alfred Ludlam
Succeeded by
Henry Jackson
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