Prime Ministers of New Zealand

Sir George Grey

Born 1812, Lisbon, Portugal

Died 1898, London, aged 86

Premier 13 October 1877-8 October 1879

Grey was born in Lisbon Portugal in 1812. He was educated at Guilford Surrey, and in 1826 entered Sandhurst, where he gained his ensingency in the 83rd Foot.

After some time working with his regiment in Glasgow and then Ireland, Grey entered the senior department of the Royal Military College, where he excelled and gained his captaincy. Grey spent some time in Australia, while he was there he was leader of two expeditions in Western Australia 1837-39, Resident at King George's Sound Albany Western Australia 1839, and Governor of South Australia 1841. However intelligence from New Zealand indicated that the current administration there was not successful. The Colonial Office alarmed at the tension between the natives and whites, turned to Grey. He landed at Auckland on 18 November 1845, and immediately headed for the Bay of Islands and on 1 January 1848 assumed office as Governor-in-chief of New Zealand. During that year he was knighted.

Grey rapidly acquired great mana with the Maori, and even had a command of the language. In 1853 he visited many of the Pacific Island, and arrived in South Africa early 1854 to assume the governorship of Cape Colony together with the high commissioner-ship of South Africa.

When Grey set foot again in New Zealand he found a very unhappy conflict between two races, he again became Governor of New Zealand from 1861 to 1868. On 24 March 1875 he was elected both as MP for Auckland City West and Superintendent of the Auckland Province, both positions he held for a year. Grey later became MP for Thames, in 1876, and on the defeat of Atkinson, 13 October 1877, he formed a ministry ad Premier. His ministry got into difficulties over land tax and a commercial crisis. He carried on for a few weeks after being defeated, then asked for a dissolution. Grey was now suffering from ill health and he retired from politics in 1890, leaving for Australia. On returning to New Zealand a deputation requested him to contest the Newton seat, to which he was elected unopposed. In December 1893 Grey was again elected for Auckland City, and kept the position until retiring due to failing health on a visit to England.

Grey died in London on 20 September 1898, two weeks after the death of his wife.

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