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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/O'Rorke, Sir George Maurice

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O'Rorke, Sir George Maurice, B.A., late Speaker of the House of Representatives, New Zealand, third son of the late Rev. John O'Rorke of Moylough, co. Galway, by Elizabeth Dennis, sister of the late John Dennis, of Benningham House, Tuam, was born in 1830, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in 1852. In the same year he emigrated to Victoria, and two years later settled in New Zealand, where he was called to the Bar in 1868. In 1857 Mr. O'Rorke was appointed Clerk of the Auckland Provincial Council, and in 1861 was elected to the General Assembly to represent Onehunga, for which constituency he continued to sit till 1882, when it was merged in the electoral district of Manukau (for which he was returned uninterruptedly till 1890). Mr. O'Rorke was an ardent provincialist, and was Speaker of the Auckland Provincial Council from 1865 to 1876, and for some time Deputy-Superintendent. In 1871 he succeeded Mr. Carleton as Chairman of Committees in the House of Representatives, and was reappointed in 1875 and 1876. He was Secretary for Crown Lands and Minister for Immigration in the Waterhouse, Fox and Vogel Ministries (which were, in effect, the same Ministry), from Oct. 1872 to August 1874, when, not being able to agree with Mr. Vogel's project to abolish the provinces, he resigned. Under the premiership of Sir George Grey Mr. O'Rorke was appointed to the Speakership of the House of Representatives in July 1879, in succession to Sir William Fitzherbert. This post he held until Parliament was dissolved at the end of 1890. Sir Maurice O'Rorke has been a member of the Board of Education, and is chairman of the Board of Governors of the Auckland Grammar School. He was also Chairman of the Royal Commission (1879-80) to inquire into the operations of the University of New Zealand and the secondary schools of the colony in relation to the University, and was elected first chairman of the Council of Auckland University College in 1883. He was made a knight-bachelor in 1880. Sir Maurice married Cecilia Mary, daughter of the late Alexander Shepherd, sometime Colonial Treasurer of New Zealand.