The work of the third, fourth and fifth sessions of the Fourth New Zealand Parliament, 1868-1870, and its relation to the history of the colony.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis attempts to show the importance of the work of the New Zealand parliament from 1868-70 the influence on this work of the movements and opinion of the colony as a whole. General histories of New Zealand are apt to treat this period rather casually as it did not produce any of the more important legislative measures. Nevertheless even if it did not pass far-reaching legislation, it had an importance of its own, for it was a parliament of endings and beginnings. It saw the end of Stafford's last ministry, the end of the self-sacrificing and public spirited work of this Superintendent of Nelson; the end of the Maori Wars, and. the disputes with the Imperial Government. It saw the true beginning of a constructive policy towards the natives and the reconciliation of the two races. It saw the beginning of the end of the Provincial System, and most important of all, the beginning of Vogel’s period as Treasurer end his policy of borrowing and public works. In arranging my material I have summarised briefly the work of the first three New Zealand Parliaments, and that of the first two sessions of the Fourth, after which I have endeavoured to give some idea of the conditions prevailing in New Zealand in 1868. Devoting one chapter to the work of the last three sessions of the Fourth Parliament, chiefly from the source of Parliamentary Debates, I thought it wise to deal with the Maori question in a separate Chapter. In it I have followed through the history of the sessions trying to link up the events in the country with the parliamentary debates and legislation, and hoping to show the effect on the members of the legislature (and through them on the legislation) of the public opinion of the time. I found my greatest difficulty in obtaining material concerning the condition of New Zealand in the year 1868. I did not wish this account to be purely a parliamentary record, yet there is an amazing lack of literature describing the social and more general position. Sewell’s Diary ended before these years. My domicile prevented me from making use of the McLean and Stafford Papers in the Turnbull Library. I made enquiries of my elderly relatives, but they had not arrived in New Zealand till about the eighties, and even then were very young, but their stories enabled me to form some idea of the primitive state of the Colony and what it must have been ten Years before. By dint of much searching I discovered various old books written about this time, with their thick pages and distorted maps, and they helped to throw some light upon the times.