Charles John Johnston
Mayor in 1890
Charles Johnston, a Wellingtonian by birth, was elected mayor of Wellington in 1890. This was an important year as it marked the 50th anniversary of Wellington. Johnston oversaw a jubilee parade of 10,000 people that included many notable citizens and past mayors of Wellington.
Charles Johnston went on to become a member of the Legislative Council from 1891 to 1918.
Portrait of Francis Henry Dillon Bell
Mayor from 1892 - 1893 and 1897
Francis Bell had his first taste of politics while studying in Britain where he campaigned for the Conservative Party in the British general election of 1874. After returning to his native New Zealand, he was elected mayor of Wellington.
As mayor, Bell was behind the construction of Wellington's first modern drainage system. The first of its type in New Zealand, the drainage system was designed to curtail the continuing incidence of diseases related to poor hygiene in the city.
Bell moved on to central government where, upon the death of Prime Minister William Massey in 1925, he became the first New Zealand-born prime minister.
Alfred de Bathe Brandon
Mayor from 1893 - 1894
Alfred de Bathe Brandon, born into a well known Wellington legal family, followed in his family's footsteps first by becoming a barrister, then moving into politics. His father, also named Alfred de Bathe Brandon, had been a Member of Parliament.
The younger Alfred became a Wellington City Councillor in 1886. He was elected mayor in 1893. Brandon House and Brandon Street in central Wellington carry his family name.
Sir Charles Manley Luke
Mayor in 1895
Charles Luke was born in St Just in Penwith, England and immigrated to New Zealand, with his parents, in July 1874. By 1895 he was mayor of Wellington.
Although the economic depression was lifting, there were still many people in Wellington without work.
Charles and his Council tried to alleviate the situation by creating more jobs, particularly in areas such as road building and gorse cutting.
John Rutherford Blair
Mayor from 1898 - 1899
Scottish-born John Blair, elected mayor of Wellington in 1898, was known as a liberal and free-thinking man particularly for his support of workers' rights.
Blair ensured that the city's tramways would be in the hands of the Council rather than a private business, stating that he 'did not desire to see the tramways a day longer in the hands of a syndicate than could be avoided'.
After his mayoralty, Blair went on to become the chairman of the Bank of New Zealand.
John Guthrie Wood Aitken
Mayor from 1900 - 1904
John Guthrie Wood Aitken migrated from Scotland to New Zealand in his early thirties to set up a Wellington-based import / export business - Aitken, Wilson and Company.
Aitken was an active member of the community. He helped to establish the YWCA, YMCA, the Wellington Boys' Institute, and Scots and Queen Margaret colleges.
While Aitken was mayor of Wellington, the city's tram system was electrified, and the Town Hall and Te Aro baths were built.
Thomas William Hislop
Mayor from 1905 - 1908
Before being elected mayor of Wellington, Thomas Hislop had represented two South Island seats in Parliament.
During Hislop's mayoralty, the expansion of the electrified tram system in the city fuelled a wave of civic pride. To celebrate the tram lines, Hislop and his councillors took a night-time trip around the city.
Hislop's son - Thomas Charles Atkinson Hislop - followed in his father's footsteps by becoming mayor in 1931.
Alfred Kingcome Newman
Mayor in 1909
Alfred Kingcome Newman was born in India in 1849. His family moved to New Zealand in 1853.
Newman's interests included medicine, science and business as well as politics. Throughout his long political career he pushed for reduced taxes and economic development.
Alfred Newman served on the Wellington City Council from 1881 - 1885, and was elected mayor in 1909. He campaigned for the development of Anderson Park and planting on Tinakori Hill.
Sir Thomas Mason Wilford
Mayor from 1910 - 1911
Thomas Wilford was considered a talented orator and actor - two traits that would help him in his political life. He was an eager sportsman who played several sports including tennis, rugby and boxing.
During his long political career, Wilford represented the Hutt Valley in Parliament for nearly 30 years, was mayor of Wellington from 1910 - 1911, and served as Minister of Justice and Minister of Stamp Duties in the wartime National cabinet (1917 to 1919).
Mayor in 1912
Much of David McLaren's political life was dedicated to workers' rights. During the economic depression, he became heavily involved in the union movement. He eventually became vice-president of the Wellington branch of the New Zealand Worker's Union.
McLaren was also known for his sense of humour and his love of poetry.
David McLaren's first foray into local politics was as a councillor for the Wellington City Council. In 1912 he became the first Labour mayor of Wellington. He was defeated the following year.
Sir John-Pearce Luke
Mayor from 1913 - 1921
John-Pearce Luke, nicknamed 'Peanut' due to his short stature, was the brother of Charles Manley Luke, mayor of Wellington in 1895.
Luke was elected to the Wellington City Council as a councillor in 1898. His interest in engineering led him to oversee the expansion of the Wellington tramway system.
As mayor of Wellington during the deadly 1918 influenza epidemic, Mayor Luke coordinated the relief effort by shutting many city amenities to discourage public congregation. In 1921, at the end of his mayoral tenure, Luke was knighted for his efforts in fighting the influenza epidemic.
- No Mean City Stuart Perry (1969, Wellington City Council)
- The Streets of my City F.L Irvine-Smith (1948, Reed Ltd, Auckland)
- Wellington: Biography of a City Redmer Yska (2006, Reed Ltd, Auckland)
- Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
- Te Papa Online