JACKSON, Captain William
Farmer, forest ranger, and member of Parliament.
William Jackson was born in the Yorkshire village of Green Hammerton in 1832. His father, Samuel Jackson, had been what was known as “a warm man”, but he was a victim of hard times in the West Riding, and by the time William had reached an age of independence, which developed earlier in the Yorkshire of those days than it does today, he could see little future before him in the family surroundings. Consequently he attached himself to an emigrant party which reached New Zealand in the early fifties, and with more fatalism than liking he secured a land holding in the Papakura area and commenced farming. The ferment in the Waikato region of the late fifties intrigued him from the start, and when the Waikato wars broke out in 1862, he forsook the ploughshare for the sword. He was an early volunteer and ranged far and wide in the guerilla warfare of the time. He first drew attention to himself with some distinguished leadership at Ring's Redoubt at Wairoa in 1862, and in the following year he was authorised to raise a company of 60 for the Forest Rangers. This suited his adventurous disposition perfectly, and for two years he led his polyglot force wherever emergency called. The Wairoa Forest, the Hunua Ranges, Mauku, Waiari, and Orakau were among his battlegrounds, and when the fighting died away he reluctantly laid down his arms with the rank of major and accepted a military land grant to replace his neglected Papakura demesne. Despairing of anything more exciting, he entered politics in 1872 as a member for Waikato in the Stafford Government, New Zealand's fifth parliament, but in 1875 he returned to farming. Twelve years later he was back in the House of Representatives as member for Waiapu and survived two years of the eventful tenth parliament of the Atkinson Ministry. He was lost at sea on the voyage between Wellington and Auckland on 29 September 1889.
Jackson was as vigorous a politician as he had been a soldier. He made his presence felt among the Atkinson Ministry, in which he was whip for three sessions, and he not infrequently proved a thorn in the side of the administration by his assiduous championing, in season and out, of the rights of the men who had fought in the Maori wars and who, at the end of hostilities, found themselves with neither possessions nor prospects. Captain Jackson was more a guerrilla than a trained soldier, and everything he achieved in the field was the result of unorthodoxy of a kind that irked and, sometimes, incensed the hard core of regular soldiers who commanded most of the colonial detachments. Thus he had much in common with von Tempsky.
by Ronald Jones, Journalist and Script Writer, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, Wellington.
- New Zealand Herald, 30 Sep 1889 (Obit).