Skip to main content

Fitzgerald, James Edward 1818-1896

Identifier: fite-P


  • 1848-1893

Access and use

Access is freely available in the J.C.Beaglehole Room for research and private study. For any use beyond this, please contact the J.C.Beaglehole Room ( in the first instance.

Biographical note

Born: 1818, Bath, England. Died: 1896, Wellington, New Zealand

Well-connected in Britain, Fitzgerald nonetheless took an interest in the colonies and arrived in New Zealand with his wife, Fanny, in 1850, and became a significant figure in the life of the new colony. He was already strongly associated with the New Zealand Company and with planning for a Church of England colony in New Zealand, having become Secretary of the Canterbury Association in 1949. He was also the Association's emigration agent.

He was founding editor of the Lyttelton Times, which began in 1851, and in 1853 became a cattle and dairy farmer and won election as the first superintendent of the Canterbury Province, in which capacity he served until 1857. He also went as the Member for Canterbury to the first General Assembly in 1854, a position he resigned for reasons of ill-health in 1857.

He founded The Press in 1861 and returned to political life, representing Akaroa on the Canterbury Provincial Council form 1861-1863, Ellesmere in the House of Representatives from1862-1866 and Christchurch in the House form 1866-1867. He was a proponent of equal civil and political rights for all New Zealanders and a strong aopponent of the policy of land confiscation, assuming the role of Minister for Native Affiars briefly in 1865.

In January 1867 he took up an appointment as Comptroller of the Public Accounts and from 1878 until his death he held that office and that of Auditor General. Apparently not content to rest on his laurels, in the early 1890s he was involved in the establishment of the Public Service Association, 'not for the purpose of enlarging its emoluments, but of maintaining its character and increasing its efficiency.'

Information obtained from: W. David McIntyre. 'FitzGerald, James Edward', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30-Oct-2012 URL:


6 linear_centimeters

Language of Materials


Fitzgerald, James Edward - Letters
Edited Full Draft
Sue Hirst
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the J C Beaglehole Room, Victoria University of Wellington Library Repository

P O Box 3438
Wellington 6140 New Zealand
+64 4 4635681