Alfred Ransom

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The Honourable
Sir Alfred Ransom
Sir Ethelbert Alfred Ransom portrait.jpg
Sir Alfred Ransom in ca 1938
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Pahiatua
In office
7 December 1922 – 22 May 1943
Preceded by Archibald McNicol
Succeeded by Keith Holyoake
Personal details
Born (1868-03-19)19 March 1868
Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Died 22 May 1943(1943-05-22) (aged 75)
Dannevirke, New Zealand
Spouse(s) Antonette Katinka Sondergaard (m. 1893)
Profession farmer, saddler

Sir Ethelbert Alfred Ransom KCMG (19 March 1868 – 22 May 1943) was a New Zealand politician of the Liberal Party, then its successor the United Party, and from 1936, the National Party. He was a cabinet minister from 1928 to 1935 in the United Government, and was acting Prime Minister in 1930 and in 1935.

Early life

Ransom was born in 1868 in Lower Hutt. He received his education at Lower Hutt Primary,[1] where he was school mate with Thomas Wilford.[2] He played rugby and tennis during his youth. During the Second Boer War, he was an officer in charge of the Ruahine Mounted Rifles.[2] He was a sheep farmer until 1888, and then a saddler in Dannevirke.[1] From 1920 onwards, he was sheep farming in the Akitio district.[2]

He held numerous public offices: he was chairman of the Hawke's Bay War Relief Association, chairman of the Dannevirke branch of the same organisation, chairman of the power board (until 1928), the first president of the local chamber of commerce, chairman of the fire board, member of the Dannevirke High School board, member of the executive of the Farmers' Union, and represented on the Dannevirke A&P Association.[1][2]

On 1 March 1893, Ransom married Antonette Katinka Sondergaard from Palmerston North at her home town.[3] They lost an infant daughter and a son in 1902 and 1905, respectively.[4][5]

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1922–1925 21st Pahiatua Liberal
1925–1928 22nd Pahiatua Liberal
1928 Changed allegiance to: United
1928–1931 23rd Pahiatua United
1931–1935 24th Pahiatua United
1935–1936 25th Pahiatua United
1936–1938 Changed allegiance to: National
1938–1943 26th Pahiatua National

Ransom was elected onto the Dannevirke Borough Council in 1901.[6] He stood for Mayor of Dannevirke in 1903, but was beaten by the Lutheran pastor Hans Madsen Ries in a closely fought contest.[7][8] Ransom was Mayor of Dannevirke from 1910, when he succeeded Ries, to 1919.[1][7]

He represented the rural Manawatu-Wanganui electorate of Pahiatua from 1922, when he defeated Reform's Archibald McNicol.[9]

From 1926 to 1928, he was senior whip and deputy leader of the United Party for the North Island.[2][10] During the time of the United Government, he was Minister of Public Works (1928–1930) under Joseph Ward, and Minister of Lands and Commissioner of State Forests (1930–1931) under George Forbes.[11] He retained his portfolios until 1935 in the United/Reform Coalition.[12] He was twice acting Prime Minister; in 1930, when Forbes attended the Imperial Conference in London, and again in 1935, when Forbes was overseas.[2]

In 1940, he announced that he would not stand again at the next general election due to poor health,[2] but he died in 1943 before the end of the parliamentary term.[13]

Later life

In 1935, Ransom was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal,[14] and he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.[13] He died on 22 May 1943 in Dannevirke, where he is also buried.[2] At the funeral, senior whip Walter Broadfoot represented the National Party, and Prime Minister Peter Fraser represented the First Labour Government.[15] Ransom was survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.[16] His wife died in 1952.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d Gustafson 1986, p. 339.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Obituary". The Evening Post. CXXXV (120). 22 May 1943. p. 6. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Marriage". Bush Advocate. IX (747). 2 March 1893. p. 3. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Death". Bush Advocate. XIV (17). 19 April 1902. p. 2. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Death". Bush Advocate. XVII (74). 30 March 1905. p. 4. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Borough of Dannevirke : Election of Councillors". Bush Advocate. XII (1998). 25 April 1901. p. 3. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b McGibbon, Ian. "Hans Madsen Ries – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Borough of Dannevirke : Annual Election of Mayor, 1903". Bush Advocate. XIV (333). 30 April 1903. p. 3. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 217, 228.
  10. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 280.
  11. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 80.
  12. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 81.
  13. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 228.
  14. ^ "Official jubilee medals". Evening Post. CXIX (105). 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  15. ^ "Last Respects Paid". Auckland Star. LXXIV (123). 26 May 1943. p. 4. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  16. ^ "Ex-Ministers' Deaths". Auckland Star. LXXIV (120). 22 May 1943. p. 6. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  17. ^ "Death Search". Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 17 November 2012. Search for 'Antonette Katinka' and 'Ransom' 


  • Gustafson, Barry (1986). The First 50 Years : A History of the New Zealand National Party. Auckland: Reed Methuen. ISBN 0-474-00177-6. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Archibald McNicol
Member of Parliament for Pahiatua
Succeeded by
Keith Holyoake
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sydney George Smith
Senior Whip of the Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Alfred Murdoch
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