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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Hall, Hon. Sir John

Hall, Hon. Sir John, K.C.M.G., M.H.R., formerly Premier of New Zealand, son of George Hall, of Elloughton, near Hull, was born at Hull on Dec. 18th, 1824, and educated on the Continent. In 1840-43 he was in a merchant's office, and subsequently became private secretary to the Secretary of the General Post Office. In 1852 he went out to Lyttelton, N.Z., and settled as a sheep farmer in Canterbury. Mr. Hall soon went into public life, entering the Canterbury Provincial Council in 1853, and in 1855 becoming Provincial Secretary, and in 1864 Secretary of Public Works. Until the abolition of provincial government Mr. Hall was thoroughly identified with Canterbury. In 1856 he was Resident Magistrate for Lyttelton, and Sheriff and Commissioner of Police, and in 1858 was appointed Resident Magistrate for Christchurch. In 1855 he was elected to represent Christchurch in the House of Representatives, and held office as Colonial Secretary in the Fox Ministry from May 20th to June 2nd, 1856. In 1862, after his return from a visit to England, he was nominated to the Legislative Council; but, resigning his seat in 1866, was elected to the House of Representatives for Heathcote, and took office in the Stafford Administration as member of the Executive Council (August 24th, 1866, to June 28th, 1869), Postmaster-General (August 24th, 1866, to Feb. 5th, 1869), and Electric Telegraph Commissioner (Oct. 16th, 1866, to Feb. 5th, 1869). In 1867 he attended the Intercolonial Conference on Ocean Postal Communication in Melbourne. In 1872 he was once more called to the Legislative Council, and was a member of the Executive Council in the Fox-Vogel Ministry from July 20th to Sept. 10th, 1872. After the defeat of the Stafford Government, Mr. Hall was Colonial Secretary in the Waterhouse Cabinet from Oct. 11th, 1872, to March 3rd, 1873. Subsequently Mr. Hall was a member of the Executive Council in Mr. Atkinson's first Ministry, from Sept. 1st, 1876, to Sept. 13th. In 1879 Sir George Grey was defeated on an amendment by Sir William Fox, and appealed to the country. Mr. Hall at this juncture once more resigned his seat in the Upper House despite Sir George Grey's opposition, and was elected to the House or Representatives for Selwyn. When Parliament met in Oct. 1879 the Grey Government was defeated by two votes, and Mr. Hall was called upon to form a ministry, Oct. 8th. He remained Premier till April 21st, 1882, when he was obliged by ill-health to retire, and was succeeded by Sir Frederick Whitaker. During his term of office the Triennial Parliaments Bill and the Universal Suffrage Bill were passed; also the much-debated Maori Prisoners Bill and the Maori Prisoners Detention Bill, which were intended to meet the Te Whiti difficulty. Subsequently the Government despatched troops to Parihaka, and arrested Te Whiti. Sir John Hall has filled numerous local offices, having been Chairman of the Westland and Selwyn County Councils, and of the first Christchurch Municipal Council. He has also been a prominent member of the Anglican community in New Zealand. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1882. He married in 1861 Rose Anne, daughter of William Dryden, of Hull.