Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

DEATH OF SIR READER WOOD.

A VETERAN COLONIST,

Mr Reader Gillson Wood, one of our' best known pioneer colonists, and a very j old resident of Auckland, died last evening : at his residence in Parnell at the age of 74 years. Mr Wood has been over fifty years in New Zealand, and at one time took a prominent part in political affairs, and the public matters in the city. He had been gradually failing in health lately, being attended in hislasbdays by Dr. Philson. Mr Wood leaves a widow, one son {Mr T. Wood), and two grandchildren, Cox's "Men of Mark of New Zealand" contains the following biography of the deceased gentleman : —"Mr Reader Wood was born in 1821. He was educated ab the Merchanb Tailors' School, London. On j attaining a suitable age he became a pupil of Mr William Flint, of Leicester, architect and surveyor, for six years. Shortly after his articles had expired he left England, arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1844. The Northern insurrection breaking oub in the following year, Mr Wood, who had been made lieutenant of volunteer artillery, was despatched wibh his company to the scab of war, and was presenb ab the attempted storming of Heke's Pa, at Ohaeawai, on Ist July, 1845. Ho was mentioned in Colonel Dospard's despatch describing that disastrous affair. In the brief space of a few minutes the forlorn hope lost Captain Granb of the bßbh, Lieutenant Philpott, R.N., 31 men killed and 66 wounded ; Lieutenant Beattie, of the 99th, and several other soldiers subsequently died of their wounds. After the war Mr Wood returned to Auckland, where he practised bis profession of architect and surveyor for some time. About 1848 he was employed by the Gcrvernmenb as Inspector of Roads, with a large party of natives under his command ; afterwards he was appointed Deputy Surveyor-General, which office he retained till 1856, when the Waßto Lands Department foil under provincial control. He again returned to the practice of his profession, combining with it the business of land agent and sharebroker. Early in tho history of provincial institutions he came to bhe front as a local politician, and was elected in 1847 a member of the Provincial Council for Parnell. His ability aa a public speaker on politics attracted attention, and in the following year bo was brought forward to represent Auckland City Easb in the General Assembly, but was defeated. In 1861 he was returned for Parnell. The same year he took office as a Cabinet Minister, being offered bhe portfolio of Colonial Treasurer in the Fox Ministry. On the 6th August, .1862, this Ministry wenb out of office ; bub, with the exception of a brief interregnum of a fortnight, Mr Wood held the oflice of Treasurer in the two succeeding Ministries —Domett and Whitaker-Fox—till bho 24th November, 1864. .Tho financial statement put before tho House by Mr Wood in the Whitaker-Fox Government contained the outlines of a scheme of military settlement, and the borrowing of a three million loan, with a view of finally disposing of the native difficulty. Mr Wood, towards the close of 1864, went to England as Colonial Treasurer to negotiate for one million out of this three million loan; and be accomplished his objecb. In 1865 ha^resigned bis seat for Parnell. In 1870 ho was again elected for Parnell, which he continued to represent in the Assembly for some years. He opposed the greab borrowing scheme of Mr Vogel with characteristic vigour and eloquence. In 1878 he Bgain resigned his seat for Parnell, and took a trip to England on private affairs. On his return bo Auckland in 1879, he was elected for Waitemata. To Mr Wood the colony is indebted for the abolition of future Civil Service pensions, as he carried a resolution to that effect in 1871."

Mr Gisborne, in his "New Zealand Rulers and Statesmen," says : — "Mr Reader Wood was a man of more than average abiliby. He had good common sense, considerable administrative capacity, and a well-informed mind, and he soon developed groat debating power. His speechos on great occasions were, though at times a little too theatrical in style, admirable specimens of pungent humour, logical force and attractive eloquence. It cannofc, however, be said that his political career has borne out the hopes which his abilities led many to form regarding ib. Ho is sadly devoid of sentiment, and within certain limits, sentiment is an essential ingredient of political greatness Partly, no doubt, from this cause, there grew upon him an ungenialiby of political temperament, a love of saturnine solitude, and an inability to adapt himself to the exigencies of party. He could nob lead, and he would not follow. He preferred to hold himself aloof from all parties, and'to turn his heavy guns againsb each in burn. This attitude may be called independence, bub ib is nob statesmanship, inasmuch as it incapacitates a man from the highest political usefulness, thab is bo say, the ability to combine with others in the attainment of great -political objects. Ib is not good for man to be alone in Parliamentary life." The funeral will leave the deceased's late residence, Brighton, to-morrow at 3 p.m., for St. Stephen's Cemetery.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS18950821.2.7

Bibliographic details

DEATH OF SIR READER WOOD., Auckland Star, Volume XXVI, Issue 199, 21 August 1895

Word Count
869

DEATH OF SIR READER WOOD. Auckland Star, Volume XXVI, Issue 199, 21 August 1895

Working