George Laurenson

George Laurenson (1857-1913) was a New Zealand Member of Parliament for Lyttelton in the South Island.

Member of Parliament

George Laurenson represented the Lyttelton electorate in the New Zealand House of Representatives for fourteen years from 1899 to his death in 1913. He was Minister of Labour, Customs and Marine in 1912.

New Liberal Party

Laurenson was the nominal leader or chairman of the New Liberal Party in 1905 though Tommy Taylor was the dominant figure. Like Taylor, Laurenson favoured federation with Australia.

George Laurenson was a successful businessman in Christchurch. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and was educated in the Shetland Islands. Laurenson served on numerous local boards and committees: he was chairman of the Lyttelton Harbour Board and the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce.

The Lyttelton Times parliamentary correspondent described Laurenson as: "a Scotchman by birth, a Shetlander by education, a New Zealander by adoption, a storekeeper by trade and a yachtsman by preference."

A son of George Laurenson, George Lyttelton Laurenson CBE (1893-1968), was Commissioner of Transport (see NZ Roll of Honour, p.620).

Fact vs. fiction

  • Laurenson never joined the Labour Party though he agreed with the Labour Party's stand during the 1913 general strike, and appeared at meetings with the leaders of the Federation of Labour.


Further reading


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