Thomas Davey (New Zealand politician)

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Thomas Davey
Portrait photo of Thomas Henry Davey, showing him with a bald head and a full beard
Thomas Davey
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for City of Christchurch electorate
In office
Preceded by George John Smith
Succeeded by electorate abolished
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Christchurch East
In office
Preceded by new electorate
Succeeded by Henry Thacker
Personal details
Born 1856–
Died 1934
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Maude Davey (née Dobson)
Profession Printer

Thomas Henry Davey (1856 – 5 April 1934) was a New Zealand Member of Parliament for the electorates of City of Christchurch and Christchurch East. He is regarded as a member of the Liberal Party, but was critical of aspects of the party and its leadership.

Early life

Davey was born in Liskeard in south east Cornwall, England. He learned the trade of printing.[1]

With his parents, he came to New Zealand in 1874, arriving in Wellington on the Douglass. They lived in Feilding (where he worked as a saw miller), Wellington (where he worked for the Government printer) and then Christchurch. He was a printer for the Lyttelton Times newspaper and became President of the Typographical Union and Vice-President of the Trades and Labour Council.[1]

On 8 August 1884, he married Maude Davey, daughter of John Dobson (surveyor) from Oxford.[2]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1902–1905 15th Christchurch Liberal
1905–1908 16th Christchurch East Liberal
1908–1911 17th Christchurch East Liberal
1911–1914 18th Christchurch East Liberal
Headstone for Thomas Davey

From between the general elections of 1902 and 1905, Davey was one of the three members of parliament representing the multi-member City of Christchurch electorate. He had been presented with a petition to stand for parliament and came third out of nine contenders in this three-member electorate, behind Tommy Taylor and Harry Ell.[1]

In 1905, these multi-member electorates were split up, and he won the Christchurch East electorate against three other contenders: William Whitehouse Collins (who had previously been in Parliament for the Liberal Party), Henry Toogood[3] (a young engineer who only recently left Canterbury College and who would become one of the founding members of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand), and Frederick Cooke[4] (a prominent member of the Socialist Party).[5]

Davey held Christchurch East to 1914, when he retired.[6]

Like Harry Ell, Davey showed an independent attitude towards the Liberal Government. He demanded an elective executive, and said that Premier Richard Seddon held too many portfolios. He also believed that the Cabinet should be reconstructed.[7] Nonetheless, Davey is listed as a member of the Liberal Party in Wilson's New Zealand Parliamentary Record : 1840–1984.[8]

Davey was elected Mayor of St Albans in 1897. He was a member of the Hospital Board and the Board of Canterbury College.[1]

The Lyttelton Times parliamentary correspondent described Davey as: "tall, straight, solidly built – the best Mayor St. Albans ever had".[9]


Davey died on 5 April 1934 and was buried at Linwood Cemetery.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d "St. Albans", The Cyclopedia of New Zealand – Canterbury Provincial District, Christchurch: Cyclopedia Company Limited, 1903, p. 389, retrieved 29 March 2010
  2. ^ Evans, Beverley (27 July 2006). "Papers Past – Star – Christchurch – August 1884 – BMD's". Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  3. ^ "TOOGOOD, Henry Featherston, (1879–1962)". Engineering New Zealand. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  4. ^ McAloon, Jim. "Frederick Riley Cooke". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ "Parliamentary Candidates". The Press. LXII (12364). 30 November 1905. p. 5. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  6. ^ Scholefield, Guy (1950) [1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. p. 102.
  7. ^ Lyttelton Times, 16 November 1905 Missing or empty |title= (help): n.p.
  8. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 192. OCLC 154283103.
  9. ^ Lyttelton Times, 1 August 1903 Missing or empty |title= (help): n.p.
  10. ^ "Christchurch City Council Cemeteries Database". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 3 May 2011.

Further reading

  • Bassett, Michael (1982), Three Party Politics in New Zealand, 1911–1931, n.p.: Historical Publications, ISBN 0-86870-006-1
  • Hamer, David (1988), The New Zealand Liberals: the years of power, 1891–1912, Auckland, [N.Z.]: Auckland University Press, ISBN 1-86940-014-3
  • Whitcher, G. F. (1966), The New Liberal Party 1905 [M.A.(Hons.) – University of Canterbury]
  • Wood, G. Antony (ed.) (1996), Ministers and Members in the New Zealand Parliament, Dunedin, [N.Z.]: Otago University Press, ISBN 1-877133-00-0
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Harry Ell, George John Smith, William Whitehouse Collins
Member of Parliament for Christchurch
Served alongside: Harry Ell and Tommy Taylor (1902–1905)
Constituency abolished
In abeyance
Title last held by
Jerningham Wakefield
Member of Parliament for Christchurch East
Succeeded by
Henry Thacker
Retrieved from ""
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