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.