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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Ballance Statue

A statue of John Ballance stands in Parliament grounds, Wellington, directly in front of the General Assembly Library. It is somewhat dwarfed by the larger one of Seddon. Writing on 13 April 1897 to William Pember Reeves, the Agent General for New Zealand in London, Edward Tregear, head of the Labour Department and one of the more prominent civil servants of the day, said: “We have had a ceremony of unveiling the statue of ‘Ballance’… In my eyes the statue is hideous beyond words; it is very good style for a cemetery but is no more like our dear dead chief than I am like the Apollo Belvedere–and that's ‘a far cry’. The Trade Council ought to be prosecuted for debasing the populace with such examples of Art, but poor fellows, they did their little best to try and show honour to a man they honoured. ‘Forgive them, they know not what they do’–should be written on the pedestal. Such a statue adds a new terror to Death.”

by Angus Ross, M.C. AND BAR, M.A.(N.Z.), PH.D.(CANTAB.), Professor of History, University of Otago.

  • Ballance Papers (MSS.), Turnbull Library
  • The Review of Reviews, May 1893, “Character Sketch–The Hon. John Ballance,” Stout, Sir Robt.
  • Notable New Zealand Statesmen, Scholefield, G. H. (1946).