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.


RUSSELL, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Hamilton


Early settler and Minister of the Crown.

Andrew Hamilton Russell was born in 1811, the third and posthumous son of Captain Andrew Hamilton Russell of the 28th Regiment, who took part in the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), served in the Walcheren Expedition, and lost his life near Badajoz, in the Peninsular campaign. His mother was Sarah, née Blunden.

On 18 January 1828 Hamilton was commissioned as an ensign in the 22nd Regiment, being promoted to lieutenant on 23 July 1834 and captain on 31 December 1841. He saw active service in India and took part in the conquest of the Scinde. In 1842 he transferred to the 58th Regiment and served in the Southern Division of New Zealand from 9 April 1845, taking part in the operations against Te Rangihaeata in the Hutt Valley and Porirua districts. In June 1846 Governor George Grey appointed him Superintendent of Military Roads in the Wellington district and, during the next few years, he supervised the construction of the principal roads between Wellington, the Hutt Valley, and Porirua. He retired from the army in 1859 with the rank of lieutenant-colonel and took up the Mangakauri sheep station in Hawke's Bay. Russell was summoned to the Legislative Council on 2 July 1861, where he remained until 16 July 1872, when his appointment as an Inspector of Native Schools caused him to be disqualified from membership. He was Minister of Native Affairs in the unreconstructed ministry of Stafford, but resigned on 24 August 1866 in order to allow J. C. Richmond to enter. In 1874 Russell sold his Mangakauri property and returned to England.

In the early 1830s Russell married Elizabeth Ann, daughter of John Howlett of Yorkshire. He died at Fonthill, Torquay, Devonshire, on 20 April 1900. Two of his sons were commissioned in the 58th Regiment and later settled in New Zealand. The elder of these sons, Captain A. H. Russell (1837–1916), who was known as Hamilton Russell, farmed in Hawke's Bay. He married Katherine Sarah, daughter of Thomas Tinsley, and Major-General Sir Andrew Hamilton Russell was their son. Hamilton Russell returned to England and settled at the Heath House, Petersfield. The second son was Sir William Russell Russell.

The relation of the various members of the Russell family to each other is extremely confusing because no less than four generations – three of them living contemporaneously – have borne the names Andrew Hamilton.

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

  • N.Z.P.D., Vol. 112, 31 Jul 1900 (Obit)
  • Hart's Army List, 1858
  • Hawke's Bay Herald, 1 Aug 1900 (Obit).


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