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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Sheehan, Hon. John

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Sheehan, Hon. John, M.H.R., eldest son of David Sheehan, an early Auckland settler, was born on July 5th, 1844. He studied for the law, and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand in 1868; was elected to the Auckland Provincial Council in 1869, and in the following year became a member of the Provincial Executive. He was elected to the House of Representatives on March 20th, 1872, being the first native-born member of the New Zealand Parliament. During the session of 1877 he was appointed one of the whips of Sir George Grey's party, when in opposition, and on the defeat of Major Atkinson on Oct. 8th Mr. Sheehan accepted the portfolio of Minister of Justice and Native Minister under Sir George, offices for which his extensive acquaintance with native matters, his knowledge of the Maori language, and his legal education eminently qualified him. After the defeat of the Grey Government in 1879, Mr. Sheehan continued an active member of the Opposition down to the time of his death, on June 13th, 1885.