Colonial Secretary (New Zealand)

The Colonial Secretary of New Zealand was an office established in 1840 and abolished in 1907. The position should not be confused with the Colonial Secretary of the former Colonial Office of the United Kingdom.

Along with the Chief Justice, the office was one of the first four created by Governor William Hobson when he arrived in New Zealand in January 1840. The Colonial Secretary's Office handled the creation of New Zealand's public service, and became the modern Department of Internal Affairs in 1907. The Colonial Secretary became known as the Minister of Internal Affairs from then on.

The Colonial Secretary was considered the deputy of the Governor, until the granting of responsible government. For example, Willoughby Shortland acted as administrator of government following the death of William Hobson in 1841. Henry Sewell, who is considered by some as the first Premier of New Zealand, held the position for his short tenure as head of the government in 1856.

List of Colonial Secretaries

Name Governor / Premier served Took Office Left Office Party
Willoughby Shortland William Hobson 29 January 1840 31 December 1843 None
Andrew Sinclair Robert FitzRoy
George Grey
6 January 1844 7 May 1856 None
Henry Sewell 7 May 1856 20 May 1856 None
William Fox Premier Frederick Whitaker 30 October 1863 24 November 1864 None
William Gisborne 28 June 1869 10 September 1872 None
Daniel Pollen 8 April 1873 1877 None


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