Sir Frederick Whitaker, KCMG (1812 - 1891) was an English-born New Zealand politician who served twice as Premier of New Zealand and six times as Attorney-General.
Whitaker was born at the Manor House
, Bampton, Oxfordshire
on 23 April 1812
. Whitaker undertook a legal education and became a solicitor
and attorney at the age of 27. A year later he sailed to Australia and then New Zealand.
Whitaker lived in Auckland and was appointed a County Court judge until this position was abolished in 1844, at which time he returned to work as a lawyer. He was appointed to the New Zealand Legislative Council in March 1845. He also served as a major in the militia.
After leaving the Legislative Council in 1846 he became a member again in May 1853. He also became the provincial law officier for Auckland Province in 1854.
Whitaker became the first Attorney-General of New Zealand
in the government of Henry Sewell
in 1856. He served as Attorney-General until 1861 when he resigned from Cabinet and went back to the law. In October 1863 Whitaker was called upon to form a government to replace Premier Domett following his defeat at a vote of no-confidence.
Whitaker's term as Premier lasted just over a year until November 1864. His term ended due to differences between himself and Governor Grey over the conduct of the New Zealand Wars
. Whitaker also resigned as a member of the Legislative Council. He served briefly as the member of Parliament for Parnell
from 1866 to 1867.
In October 1865 he was elected Superintendent of Auckland Province, which office he held until 1867. Then for nine years he stayed away from public office.
In 1876 he became MP for Waikato
and later Attorney-General again, in Atkinson's government. The Atkinson Ministry lasted until October 1877 and Whitaker lost his seat in the House in 1879. However when Premier Hall wanted him to serve as Attorney-General again, he was appointed once more to the Legislative Council in 1879. When Hall resigned in April 1882, Whitaker became Premier for the second time, serving until September 1883.
Whitaker was made a KCMG in 1884 and served again as Attorney-General, and as leader of the Legislative Council from 1887 to 1890. By then his health was failing, and he died on 4 December 1891.