Benjamin Harris (New Zealand politician)

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Benjamin Harris (1836 – 12 February 1928) was a 19th-century Member of Parliament in New Zealand. In 1893 he appears to have been a Liberal Party supporter.[1]

Early life

Harris was born at Lisburn, Ireland in 1836.[2] The family migrated to England, Canada, and Australia, before settling in New Zealand in East Tamaki in 1847.[2][3] Early in his life, he had a farm in Pukekohe.[2] With the outbreak of the New Zealand Wars, he joined the Otahuhu Cavalry Volunteers in 1861, and, as The Press in Christchurch as a contemporary source records, "for a few years subsequently galloped about slaying Maoris [sic] in the interests of settlement, civilisation, and Christianity."[4] He returned to his farm in 1866 and married the following year.[2]

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1879–1881 7th Franklin Independent
1881–1882 8th Franklin North Independent
1882–1884 8th Franklin North Independent
1893–1896 12th Franklin Liberal

He represented the Ramarama electorate on the Auckland Provincial Council from October 1874 until the abolition of provincial councils two years later.[5]

He represented South Auckland electorates; Franklin from 1879 to 1881; and then the replacement electorate of Franklin North from 1881. His 1881 election was declared void in 1882, but he won the subsequent 1882 by-election. In 1884 he was defeated.[1] He contested the 1890 election in the reconstituted Franklin electorate, but was defeated by Ebenezer Hamlin.[6]

Harris then represented the Franklin electorate from 1893 to 1896, when he was again defeated, by future Prime Minister William Massey.[7]

On 3 February 1897, he was appointed to the Legislative Council. At the end of the seven-year terms, he was reappointed in 1904, 1911 and 1918. He resigned on 20 June 1923.[8]

Later life and death

Late in his life, he lived in Clyde Street in Epsom.[9] He died at his home, Taumaihi, on 12 February 1928 and was buried at Pukekohe Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Jane, three daughters and one son.[2]


  1. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 203.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Death of Major Harris". Auckland Star. LIX (36). 13 February 1928. p. 9. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "People in Perspective". New Zealand Truth (952). 23 February 1924. p. 1. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Mr Benjamin Harris". The Press. LI (8895). 11 September 1894. p. 5. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 184.
  6. ^ "The General Election, 1890". National Library. 1891. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 203, 219.
  8. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 155.
  9. ^ "Deaths". Auckland Star. LIX (36). 13 February 1928. p. 1. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 


  • The New Zealand Liberals: The Years of Power, 1891-1912 by David Hamer (Auckland University Press, 1988) ISBN 1-86940-014-3
  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Franklin North
Succeeded by
Frank Buckland
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