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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Dick, Hon. Thomas

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Dick, Hon. Thomas, is a native of Edinburgh, and was born there in 1823. Having gained commercial experience in London, he left that city for St. Helena, but after seven years' residence there resolved on removing to New Zealand, arriving in Otago, accompanied by his wife and family, on Nov. 26th, 1857. After some mercantile experience, Mr. Dick entered the political arena. Mr. Harris having resigned his seat as a member of the Provincial Council for Dunedin at the end of 1858, Mr. Dick was unanimously elected to succeed him in Feb. 1859. During the ensuing session of the Council an adverse vote caused the Executive to resign office, and a new one was formed by Mr. Reynolds, of which Mr. Dick was a member. A Bill having been passed considerably increasing the number of members of the Council, early in 1860 a general election took place, and Mr. Dick was returned at the head of the poll for Dunedin, eleven candidates having been proposed, five to be elected. On the assembling of the new Council Mr. Dick occupied a seat on the Ministerial benches, which he, however, quickly resigned. It was not till 1862 that he again held an official position in the Council. At the opening of the session that year he proposed an amendment on the address in reply, carrying it by a small majority, and thereby relegating the Cutten-Walker administration to the Opposition benches, when he himself assumed office as Provincial Secretary. Another general election took place in May, 1863, when Mr. Dick was again returned at the top of the poll for Dunedin, retaining the position of Secretary at the opening of the new Council. He was however, shortly compelled to resign, but was again reinstated for a few months. He succeeded Mr. Harris as superintendent of the Otago province, in August 1865, but was displaced by Mr. Macandrew in Feb. 1867, when his first term expired. Mr. Dick sat in the New Zealand House of Representatives in 1861 and 1862, but he was not a member of Parliament in 1863-4 and 5. In 1866 he was elected for Port Chalmers. After the first session he resigned his seat, and it was not till 1879, on the general election for the seventh Parliament of New Zealand, that he again appeared on the scene as a Dunedin representative, in conjunction with Messrs. Oliver and Stewart. The result of the election of 1879 placing the Hall Ministry in power, Mr. Dick joined the administration in 1880, holding the portfolios of Colonial Secretary, Minister for Education, and Minister for Justice. Sir John Hall having resigned on account of ill-health in 1882, Sir F. Whittaker became the Premier, Mr. Dick occupying his old position, with the added responsibilities of Postmaster-General and Commissioner of Telegraphs. In 1883 Sir F. Whittaker retired, being followed by Major Atkinson as Premier, but the Government continued, with one or two alterations, the same as that formed by Sir John Hall in 1879. Mr. Dick consequently remained in office, confined, however, on this occasion to the responsibilities of Colonial Secretary and Minister for Education. A dissolution by effluxion of time occurring at the close of this session, and a rearrangement of electorates having been decided on, Mr. Dick offered himself as a candidate for the new district of Dunedin West, having for his opponent his old colleague in the united electorate, Mr. W. D. Stewart, who after a severe contest won the seat by a small majority. At the general election in 1887, the contest for the representation of the district between the two gentlemen was renewed, ending with a similar result; so that Mr. Dick has since been excluded from public life.