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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.


DALDY, William Crush


Master mariner, merchant, and prominent Auckland citizen.

William Crush Daldy was born in Rainham, Sussex, in 1816, the son of Samuel Rootsey Daldy. At the age of 16 he went to sea and in 1840 sailed from Liverpool in his schooner Shamrock, arriving in Auckland in July 1841. For some years he traded between Auckland and Sydney, apparently with success, for when Brown and Campbell's vessel Bolina left for England on 20 December 1844 with Auckland's first cargo of exports Daldy sailed with her as captain. In 1847, back in New Zealand, Daldy established a timber mill in Auckland, which he carried on until 1849 when the wholesale and shipping firm of Combes and Daldy was founded. This firm flourished for nearly 50 years.

Although he was interested in political affairs, and particularly in those of the Provincial Government, Daldy did not hold office for long periods. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1855 to 1860, being Minister without portfolio during the short reign of the Fox Ministry in 1856. During 1857 and from 1861 to 1864 he was a member of the Auckland Provincial Council. In 1865 he was agent in England for the Provincial Government and was instrumental in sending out emigrants to New Zealand.

His activities as an Auckland citizen were many. He was one of the first volunteers; he was a Justice of the Peace; he was a member of the first council of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce founded in 1856; he was one of the first auditors of the Bank of New Zealand; and for a short time he was a member of the Auckland City Council. Deeply concerned by the heavy losses by fire which occurred in those early years, he was one of those responsible for the founding of the New Zealand Insurance Co. in 1859, being appointed one of its first directors and, as captain of the volunteer fire brigade, he did a great deal in a very positive way to reduce the number of serious fires in Auckland. Other important activities were concerned with harbour works. After the passing of the Auckland Harbour Act in 1854 a Board of Commissioners was appointed to deal with the question of dock and harbour accommodation, and Daldy was one of the first of these. When, in 1871, the Auckland Harbour Board was formed, he was elected its first chairman, holding that position until 1877. It was under his leadership that the harbour board commenced its progressive policy of harbour works.

In 1841 Daldy married Frances Pulham, who died in 1877. He later married Amey, née Hamerton, who died in 1920. Daldy died at Ponsonby, Auckland, on 5 October 1903.

The public speeches of Captain Daldy, both in Parliament and elsewhere, and the nature of his activities, reveal him as a man deeply and sincerely concerned with the welfare of the community in which he lived. He did not seek public recognition, but was prepared to give his wholehearted support to any movement which made for progress and for lasting benefit.

by Enid Annie Evans, B.A., A.L.A., Librarian, Auckland Institute and Museum.

  • New Zealand Banker's Hundred—a History of the Bank of New Zealand, 1861–1961, Chappell, N. M. (1961)
  • Bold Century—the New Zealand Insurance Company Limited, 1859–1959, New Zealand Insurance Co. Ltd., (1959)
  • A Century of Auckland Commerce, 1856–1956—a History of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Franklin, E. C. (1956)
  • New Zealand Herald, 5 Oct 1903 (Obit).


Enid Annie Evans, B.A., A.L.A., Librarian, Auckland Institute and Museum.