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8th New Zealand Parliament

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8th New Zealand Parliament

The 8th New Zealand Parliament was a term of the New Zealand Parliament.


Elections for this term were held in 4 Māori electorates and 91 general electorates on 8 and 9 December 1881, respectively. A total of 95 MPs were elected, i.e. multi-member electorates were no longer used. Parliament was prorogued in June 1884. During the term of this Parliament, three Ministries were in power.


The 8th Parliament opened on 18 May 1882, following the 1881 general election. It sat for three sessions, and was prorogued on 27 June 1884.

Historical context

Political parties had not been established yet; this only happened after the 1890 election. Anyone attempting to form an administration thus had to win support directly from individual MPs. This made first forming, and then retaining a government difficult and challenging.


The Hall Ministry under Premier John Hall had been in power since 8 October 1879. This ministry lasted until 21 April 1882. It was succeeded by the Whitaker Ministry, which lasted until 25 September 1883. The second Atkinson Ministry succeeded it. This Ministry finished on 16 August 1884, just after the 1884 general election for the 9th Parliament.


Ninety-one general and four Māori electorates were used for the 1881 elections, i.e. the previous multi-member electorates were abolished. The changes were the result of the Representation Act 1881. The previous electoral redistribution was undertaken in 1875 for the 1875–76 election. In the six years since, New Zealand's European population had increased by 65%. In the 1881 electoral redistribution, the House of Representatives increased the number of European representatives to 91 (up from 84 since the 1875–76 election). The number of Māori electorates was held at four. The House further decided that electorates should not have more than one representative, which led to 35 new electorates being formed: Ashburton, Auckland North, Awarua, Christchurch North, Christchurch South, Coromandel, Dunedin Central, Dunedin East, Dunedin South, Dunedin West, Foxton, Franklin North, Franklin South, Hawke's Bay, Hokonui, Inangahua, Kumara, Lincoln, Manukau, Moeraki, Peninsula, St Albans, Stanmore, Sydenham, Taranaki, Tauranga, Te Aro, Thorndon, Waimate, Waipawa, Wairarapa North, Wairarapa South, Waitotara, Wakanui, and Wellington South. In addition, two electorates that had previously been abolished were recreated: Bay of Islands and Oamaru.

These changes necessitated a major disruption to existing boundaries. Only six electorates remained unchanged: Waikato, Waipa, Bruce, Lyttelton, Nelson, and Picton.

Initial composition of the 8th Parliament

95 seats were created across the electorates.

The following table shows the successful candidate for each electorate.

Changes during term

There were a number of changes during the term of the 8th Parliament.


8th New Zealand Parliament Wikipedia

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