George Hunter - copy of portrait
Mayor from 1842 - 1843
George Hunter was elected as the first mayor of the newly formed Wellington Borough in 1842. At the time, voting was restricted to adult males who had paid the £1 registration fee.
Scottish-born Hunter emigrated to New Zealand with his family in 1840. He asked Samuel Parnell, a carpenter, to erect a store for him on Lambton Quay. As carpenters were scarce, Parnell was able to successfully demand an eight-hour working day (the usual was a 10-hour day). Hunter was probably the first New Zealand employer to grant an employee an eight-hour day.
Hunter set himself up as Wellington's storekeeper-general in partnership with Kenneth Bethune, and became one of the settlement's most prominent citizens.
George Hunter died in office after catching a chill.
Portrait of William Guyton
Mayor in 1843
William Guyton was the second and final mayor of the short-lived Wellington Borough. The Borough was abolished by the British Government in 1843, and for the next 20 years Wellington had no local government. Instead, the city was represented by national and provincial authorities.
As the last mayor of the Wellington Borough, William Guyton was responsible for tidying up all the Borough's outstanding issues.
Mayor from 1870 - 1872 and 1878
Yorkshire-born Joseph Dransfield was the first mayor of Wellington city. Before his election as mayor, Dransfield was an active participant in local politics; he was chairman of the Town Board, a member of the Wellington Provincial Council, and president of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
One of Joseph Dransfield's first actions as mayor was to purchase Queen's Wharf and the surrounding land. However this led to allegations that he helped fellow councillors win many contracts for commercial waterfront activities. As a result Dransfield was ousted in 1873.
Dransfield Street in Vogeltown is named after the city's first mayor.
Charles Bonython Borlase
Mayor in 1874
Charles Borlase, who was born in India in 1820, was an active member of Wellington's political scene. Borlase represented the Wairarapa region on the Wellington Provincial Council from 1857 to 1858, and became a member of the Town Board in 1863. He followed this with a term in Parliament from 1866 to 1870 as a representative of Wellington city. He was also a city councillor before being elected mayor of Wellington in 1874.
Borlase Street, in the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn, is named after Charles Borlase in recognition of his service on the Provincial Council.
William Sefton Moorhouse
Mayor in 1875
Lawyer William Moorhouse migrated from England to New Zealand with his two brothers in 1851. Once in Wellington, Moorhouse opened a law practice.
Moorhouse served in a number of local government offices. He was the superintendent of the Canterbury Provincial Council, and became mayor of Wellington in 1875 after beating former mayor Joseph Dransfield by 400 votes.
Moorhouse died on 15 September 1881 in Wellington.
Mayor from 1876 - 1877 and 1879 - 1881
Scotsman William Hutchison was a seasoned politician by the time he was elected as mayor of Wellington in 1876. He was a member of the Wellington Provincial Council, and had also been the mayor of Wanganui.
Much of Hutchison's mayoralty dealt with whether the Council would have ownership of the waterfront, or if this task should go to a separate office.
Hutchison served two terms as mayor, returning for a second term after George Allen's three-week mayoralty in 1879.
Mayor in 1879
George Allen's mayoralty lasted for three weeks in 1879.
Originally a boat builder, Allen's other forays into public service included time as a Wellington City Councillor (1876 - 1883, and 1887 - 1888). Prior to his mayoralty, he was also a member of the Wellington Provincial Council from 1861 to 1865.
Mayor from 1882 - 1885 and 1896
George Fisher (nicknamed 'Tarcoola George') was born in Dublin and was a printer by trade. When he became mayor of Wellington, he had already been a councillor for five years.
One of the problems Fisher faced was a lack of public interest in the Council. Voter enthusiasm was waning due to the frequency of local government elections - during this time, mayoral elections were held once a year in December.
Arthur Winton Brown
Mayor in 1886 and 1891
Originally from Port Chalmers, in the South Island, Arthur Brown moved to Wellington where he became involved in the city's local government. Brown was a councillor between 1881 and 1885 before being elected mayor in 1886. He returned to his duties as a councillor in 1888, and was re-elected mayor in 1891.
Arthur Brown vanished from the public eye in 1892 after his 'fortunes suffered an eclipse'.
Mayor from 1887 - 1888
Samuel Brown, born in Ireland, was a merchant and contractor.
During his mayoralty, Samuel Brown had to contend with a New Zealand-wide economic depression, a growing problem of poor city hygiene, and frequent outbreaks of cholera and typhoid in some overcrowded inner-city areas.
In an attempt to clean up the city's slums, Brown oversaw the creation of a large, imposing refuse incinerator. Designed to get rid of the waste accumulating on the city's streets, the incinerator was located on the waterfront.
Mayor in 1889
In 1863, John Duthie moved from Aberdeen, Scotland to Wellington where he set up a hardware firm Duthie and Co.
Elected mayor of Wellington in 1889, John Duthie investigated ways to continue making improvements to the city, despite the continuing economic depression. In order to build civic works in the city he was forced to sack 40 Council staff members.
After his mayoralty ended, Duthie helped found the 'The Dominion' newspaper.