The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Russell, Thomas
Russell, Thomas, C.M.G., formerly a New Zealand publicist, was born in the year 1830 in Cork, Ireland. In 1833 he went to the Bay of Islands, N.Z., with his parents. Having embraced the legal profession, he practised in Auckland in partnership with Sir Fred Whitaker. Entering public life, Mr. Russell was a member of the Domett Ministry from August 1862 to Oct. 1863, and also of the subsequent Whitaker-Fox Ministry from Oct. 1863 to Nov. 1864. In both of these administrations—in the former for only three months—he held the portfolio of Defence Minister, a position at that time involving grave responsibility. The Whitaker-Fox Ministry, it is well known, resigned in 1864, owing mainly to a difference of opinion with the Governor, Sir George Grey, on questions connected with the conduct of the Waikato war and the management of native affairs generally. On his resignation Mr. Russell retired from Parliamentary life. He took a leading part in the formation of the Bank of New Zealand, the New Zealand Insurance Company, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, and the New Zealand Land Mortgage Company. He was also largely interested in the Thames goldfields and in pastoral pursuits in the Waikato district. Mr. Russell was created C.M.G. in 1877. He has resided in England for some years past.