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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.


NORTH, John James


Baptist minister.

A new biography of North, John James appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

John James North was born on 26 July 1871 at Birmingham, England, the eldest son of Alfred North and Emma, née Heritage, and came to New Zealand with his parents in 1882. He was educated at Dunedin schools and studied at the Presbyterian School of Theology. In 1895 he was ordained to the Baptist ministry and stationed first at Spreydon, Christchurch, and, secondly, at Oamaru. From 1901 to 1904 he was secretary of the Baptist Union, being president in the latter year and in 1932. In 1905 he was called to Wellington, but returned in 1913 to the Oxford Street Church, Christchurch, where he remained until 1927. The church sent him to England in 1923; he returned via Sweden, France, Italy, and India, and reported on the church's missions in each. He edited the New Zealand Baptist until 1926, and, in the following year, became principal of the new Baptist Theological College in Auckland where he remained until 1945.

In 1897, at Dunedin, North married Cecilia Haig. He had three sons. The eldest son, Sir Alfred Kingsley North, a Judge of the Court of Appeal, was knighted in 1959. North himself was honoured on two occasions: in 1928, when he was given an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by McMaster University, Toronto; and in 1950, when he was awarded the O.B.E. for his services to education. He died in Auckland on 14 July 1950. On this occasion, the New Zealand Baptist said of North: “In him brilliance, energy and devotion were well blended”.

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

  • Road to Tomorrow, Beilby, G. T. (1957)
  • New Zealand Baptist, Aug 1950 (Obit)
  • New Zealand Herald, 15 Jul 1950 (Obit).


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