Skip to main content
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.




Settler and politician.

A new biography of Hodgkinson, Samuel appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

Samuel Hodgkinson was born in 1817 at Morton Grange, Babworth, Nottinghamshire, the son of Richard Hodgkinson, a gentleman farmer, and of Mary, née Fisher. He was educated at the Collegiate Grammar School, Southwell, and apprenticed to Dr Valentine Williams of Nottingham. In 1838 he came to London, where he studied at the Apothecaries' Hall and at the Royal College of Surgeons, gaining honorary membership of the latter in 1842. While in London he became interested in the affairs of the New Zealand Company. He signed up as Surgeon-Superintendent in the Bombay, arriving in Nelson on 14 December 1842. After a short stay in Nelson and Wellington he continued in the Bombay to Valparaiso where he joined the General Scott, an American whaler, bound for New Bedford. He spent several months touring the Great Lakes areas of the United States and Canada and returned to England on 30 October 1843. Four years later the Colonisation Commissioners appointed him Surgeon-Superintendent on the David Malcolm which was under charter to carry emigrants to Adelaide, South Australia. Hodgkinson remained in Australia until 1851 when, encouraged by Tuckett and Sir William Martin, he decided to become a runholder in Canterbury. In partnership with Hunter-Brown he took up the Deans Peaks and Doctors Hills Stations. Towards the end of 1852 Hodgkinson's health failed and he was obliged to return to England where, in 1855, he sold his run to G. H. Moore. While in England Hodgkinson did much to encourage prospective emigrants. In 1856 he published a pamphlet, A Description of the Province of Canterbury, New Zealand; and, about the same time, he persuaded William Rolleston to emigrate to Canterbury. Hodgkinson returned to New Zealand in 1857, settling in Parnell, Auckland. Two years later he visited Southland where in 1860 he acquired the Mount Fairfax Station near Riverton. From 1864 until 1870 he was a member of the Southland Provincial Council and served on Stuart's and Taylor's Executives (1865–66). As a convinced provincialist, Hodgkinson opposed Southland's reunion with Otago. In 1868 he published Provincialism versus Centralism, a pamphlet upholding the provincial system. On 7 January 1876 he was elected member of the House of Representatives for Riverton. In Parliament he supported Sir George Grey on the provincial question, because he considered that abolition would deprive people of their opportunities to participate in local government. Hodgkinson did not seek re-election in 1879; but on 29 September 1887 he was returned by the Wallace constituency. Between 1887 and 1890 he supported the Atkinson Ministry, being especially interested in local government and constitutional reform. In 1888 he published Some Suggestions on Reform of Local Government and Decentralisation of Parliament, and advocated introducing the Canadian federal system. He favoured an elective executive and, on one occasion, failed to carry the proposal in the House by the narrow margin of two votes.

In addition to his parliamentary activities, Hodgkinson served on the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, the Southland Education Board, and acted as coroner. Although not a supporter of the liquor party, he was interested in the licensing question; however, he opposed current prohibition ideas on the grounds that these involved an infringement of personal liberty.

In 1854, at Cheshire, England, Hodgkinson married Mary Eliza Atchison (died 1902), a granddaughter of the Earl of Gosforth. Hodgkinson died at Richmond Grove, Southland, on 10 January 1914, leaving two sons and two daughters.

For many years Hodgkinson maintained a voluminous correspondence with several well-known scientists. He kept a Journal and, in his latter years, wrote his memoirs.

by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.

  • Voyage of the Bombay to Nelson – Extract from the Memoirs of S. Hodgkinson (typescript), Turnbull Library
  • Southland Times, 12 Jan 1914 (Obit).


Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.