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 OP MR. GEORGE HUNTER.

« It is with sincere regret that we have to record the death of Mr. George Hunter, which occurred at his residence, DixonBtreot, shortly after 5 o'clock last evening .Since his illness took so marked and unfavorable a turn about a week ago, it has been only too certain that the end could not be long delayed ; indeed, he haa been steadily sinking ever since, and finally passed away peaceably without any apparent suffering. Dre. France and Diver attended him to the last. He was in his 59th year. Mr. Hunter was of Scottish birth, Banffshire being bis native county. He was the eldest of a family of ten, and came out to New Zealand with hi» father, mother, brothers and sisters in the New Zealand Company's third ship, the Duke of Boxburgh, so long ago as Jannatv, 1840, being then in his 19th year. His arrival as an active, high-spirited, fresh-complexioned youth is still remembered by the older Wellington settlers, with whom he has been associated for more than 40 years. His father, Mr. George Hunter, sen., started biisiness on Lambton Quay in partnership with Mr. Kenneth Bethune, an elder brother of Mr. J. H. Bethnne, of this city, as general merchants, stock and station agents, &c. Mr. Hunter, sen., was also agent for the New Zealand Company and for Messrs. "Willis and Co., of London. Mr. George Hunter, jun., subsequently became a member of the firm, and ultimately, on the death of his father (who was the first Mayor of the City of Wellington) and of Mr. K. Bethune, remained sole proprietor of the business, which he has carried on ever since. In 1814 the firm removed their place of business to the premises in Old Custom Mouse-street, where it is still conducted, there being, however, an interval of several years during which they used the building on Custom House Quay, which was sold at a large price by Mr. Hunt.-r a few years ago, and is now occupied by the Colonial Insurance Company, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency, and other offices. Mr. George Hunter also was largely interested in station property, and continued to own the Porangahau Station, on the East Coast, to the time of his death. Ho also possessed a valuable farm at Island Bay, near Wellington, which he used as a breeding establishment for high-class stock, in which he took great interest and pride, and with which he carried off the lion's share of the prizes at most of the pastoral and agricultural shows in this and the neighbouring provinces. We have written first of the late Mr. Hunter in regard tj his business relations because it was as a man of business— shrewd, clear-headed, and able, yet ever scrupulously honorable and nigh - minded — that be was first, and haa ever since been best, known in Wellington. That he was remarkably clear-sighted in business matters is shown by the judgment with which he availed himself of the high price ruling for land two or throe years ago to dispose of the ohief portion of his landed property in this city, including the premises on Custom House Quay, the sections on the Terrace and in Manners-street, and the Island Bay 03 tat e, all of which realised prices which are now looked back on with envy. Although in his business career he experienced some vicissitudes, yet on the whole he was almost uniformly successful, amassing a fortune which must be of very considerable magnitude. Of his use of the wealth thus acquired we shall speak later. Prom a comparatively early age, Mr. Hunter was intimately associated with politics — both local and general. When, during Sir George Grey's Governorship in 1848, his Excellency devised the fiTst Legislative Council — to be composed of his nominees — great efforts were made to induce Mr. Hunter to accept one of the seats. For some time, however, he refused, as, although his sympathies were on that side, his senior partner, Mr. Kenneth Bethune, was a hot partisan of the celebrated " three F's," Sir William Fox, Sir William Fitzherbert, and the late Dr. Featherston, who strenuously opposed Sir George Grey's proposals. Ultimately the Governor succeeded in inducing Mr. William Hickson to accept a seat in his Council, and Mr. Hickson, who had considerable influence with Mr. Hunter, at length persuaded him to join. Other members of that first Council of New Zealand were Sir F. Dillon Bell, Dr. Greenwood (late Setgeant-at-Arms), Mr. W. M. Bannafcyno, the late Mr. George Moore, Mr. A. Ludlam, Sir David Monrd, the Hon. C. Dillon, and other well-known names in New Zealand political history. Mr Huntpr continued a member of the Council until the inauguration of the New Zealand Constitution in 1853. He then retired into private life for some years, but at last was induced to come forward as a candidate for the representation of Wellington City in the Provincial Council. He was returned by a largo majority, and was re-elected subsequently at each election until Provincialism was finally abolished in 1876. During the last few years of the Wellington Provincial Government, on the election of Sir W. Fitzherbert as Superintendent as sucoessor to Dr. Featherston, Mr. Hunter was a member of the Provincial Executive in Mr. Bunny's administration, which has always been regarded as one of the most able and successful in the history of Provincialism, and he only went out of office on that system ceasing to exist. In the general election of 1870, Mr. Hunter was a candidate, with Colonel Pearoe, for the representation of the city of Wellington in the House of Representatives, their opponents being the Hon. J. C. Richmond and Mr. W. T. L. Travers. Messrs. Hunter and Pearce were victorious after a very severe contest. They stood as supporters of Sir William (then Mr.) Fox and Sir Julius Vogel, as against the party of Sir Edward (then Mr.) Stafford. At the next geiurral election, in 1874, Messrs. Pearce and Hunter were opposed by the Hon. W. Gisborne and Mr. Traverß; the former, however, retired before the nomination day, and Mr. Travers, after a hard struggle, was defeated, Messrs. Pearce and Hunter being re-elected. It will be rememlieredthat Colonel Pearce resigned to go to England, but Mr. Hunter continued in the House until the dissolution last year on the defeat of the Grey Ministry. At the general election which ensued, Mr. Hunter* again offered himself as a candidate, but through some party complications he sustained the first defeat of his life, being beaten by the present member, Mr. W. Hutchison, who also, about the same time, successfully contested the Mayoralty with him. Mr. Hunter was elected one of th 1 * &r«t City Councillors for Cook Ward on its separation from Te Aro Ward, having previously declined — on the score of public And private engagements— a very numerously signed requisition to stand for the Wellington Mayoralty. Mr. Hunter's career as a public man terminated in September la«t, when his term of office as City Councillor expired by efSuxion of time, and he did not offer himself for re-election. Another prominent phase in Mr. Hunter's career was his connootion with various matters whioh can scarcely be in strictness olassed absolutely as " business," "politics," or " private life. Wo allude to his energetic co-operatipn in the working of such institutions or undertakings as the Chamber of Qfkmmerco, the Gas Company, the Patent Slip Company, the Trust, Loan, and Investment Company, the Wellington Club, the Choral Society, the Jockey Club, the New Zoaland Times newspaper, &c, in all of which he took a, most active part, He was President of the Choral Society, of the Club, and for some time of the Chamber of Commerce. His generous assistance to the Choral Society is well known, and it was as president of that society at its last concert given that he was last seen in publio, his fatal illness attacking him two days later. He was a local director of the New Zealand Insurance Company, and of the Australian Mutual Provident Society. He was a captain of militia, and formerly nc ted as a smart and efficient officer. It was mainly through his exertions that this oolony was represented it the London Exhibitions of 1851 and 1862 ; and during the Crimean war he started the " Patriotic Fund" in Wellington with a subscription of £100. He was an earnest and liberal member of the Church of England, being associated with St. Peter's parish from its foundation. Mr. Hunter's private life was a most estimable one. He was always kind and gonerous, especially to those in distress, his beneflconco, although unobtrusive, extending over a wide circle; mdeed hii bountiful charity will be sadly missed at the present time. Few men ever madci better or more liberal use of a well-earned fortune than the late Mr. Hunter. We havo paid that he was the eldest of a family of ten. Of h s three brothers, one (Mr. William Hunter) is dead, the other two (M'ssrs. Robert and David Hunter) are living. Of his six sisters, one— now dead— married the Rev. Robert Cole, Archdeacon Stock's predecessor at St. Peter's Church. 6f the five still living, one was married to the late Captain Buck, who fell in the Maori war ; another to Archdeacon Govett, and a fourth to Mr. J H. Bethune, two remaining slnjr'o. Mr. Hunter married a sister of Major Paul, and had seven children, two sons — both living— and five daughters, of whom three are dead. Mrs. Hunter died 12 years ago. In Mr. George Hunter, Now Zealand loses ■ one of her best colonists, and Wellington one of her most valuable citizens. His death will bo widely lameated, and his los 3 very difficult to replace.

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/EP18800807.2.28

Bibliographic details

DEATH OP MR. GEORGE HUNTER., Evening Post, Volume XX, Issue 183, 7 August 1880

Word Count
1,625

DEATH OP MR. GEORGE HUNTER. Evening Post, Volume XX, Issue 183, 7 August 1880

Working