Advanced Biographies Search
Filter biographies using dates, occupations and places related to people's lives.
1837–1929Architect, surveyor, teacher, tourist guide
George Frederic Allen was born in London, England, on 15 February 1837, the son of Maria Day and her husband, George Allen, an eminent architect. After training as an architect and surveyor, he was appointed engineer to the Great Barrier Kauri Timber and Copper Mining Company in New Zealand....
Story: Allen, George Frederic
Born at Adelaide, South Australia, on 10 February 1855, James Allen was the son of James Allen and his wife, Esther Bax. After his mother died James was taken to Dunedin, New Zealand, by his father, sometime between 1856 and 1859. In 1861 or 1862 he and his brother were entrusted to the care of...
Story: Allen, James
1901–1980Public servant, political activist, feminist, local politician
Born in Wellington on 3 October 1901, Lettie Annie Skinner was the fourth and youngest child of Sarey Stuart and her husband, Edward Pond Skinner, a post office linesman and former seaman. She grew up in Berhampore, attending South Wellington School and then, during the First World War,...
Story: Allen, Lettie Annie
1882–1964Lawyer, military leader, farmer, local politician, public administrator
Stephen Shepherd Allen was born at Cheadle, Staffordshire, England, on 2 August 1882, the seventh of ten children of MP William Shepherd Allen and his wife, Elizabeth Penelope Candlish, herself the daughter of an MP. Stephen first came to New Zealand with his family as a child in 1892. His...
Story: Allen, Stephen Shepherd
1903–1986Farmer, rugby player, adult educator, librarian and library administrator
Geoffrey Thomas Alley, who became New Zealand’s first national librarian in 1964, was born in Amberley, North Canterbury, on 4 February 1903. He was the fourth son and fifth of seven children of Frederick James Alley, an innovative teacher who gave his children a love of literature, music,...
Story: Alley, Geoffrey Thomas
1897–1987Farmer, teacher, social reformer, peace activist, writer
Rewi Alley was born in Springfield, Canterbury, on 2 December 1897 to Frederick James Alley, a schoolmaster, and his wife, Clara Maria Buckingham, who was active in the temperance and women's rights movements. He was christened Rewi on the wish of his father's childless sister, Amy, who had...
Story: Alley, Rewi
1889–1972Electrical engineer, local politician, employers’ representative
At the time the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, Jack Allum dominated Auckland’s local political life in the 1940s and 1950s. In particular, his name was to become indelibly associated with the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. He was born John Andrew Charles Allum in...
Story: Allum, John Andrew Charles
1867–1927Teacher, journalist, writer, poet, lawyer, judge
Oscar Thorvald (Thorwald) Johan Alpers was born on 28 January 1867 at Copenhagen, Denmark, the only son of Søren Thorvald Alpers and his wife, Frederikke Emilie Philipsen. His education began in Copenhagen, but after he had spent a year and a half there the family emigrated to New Zealand,...
Story: Alpers, Oscar Thorwald Johan
1898–1978Ngāti Pikiao; singer, entertainer, composer
Merekotia Amohau was born at Ōhinemutu, Rotorua, on 16 April 1898, the youngest child of prominent Te Arawa leader Hēnare Mete Amohau and his wife, Tūkau Te Hira of Ngāti Pikiao. Known as Mere, she was educated at Ōhinemutu and Maketū, then from 1911 at Queen Victoria School for Māori Girls in...
Story: Amohau, Merekotia
1901–1977Te Whānau-ā-Apanui; interpreter, law clerk, local politician, community leader
Karauria Tiweka Ānaru (known as Claude) was born on 2 June 1901 at Raukōkore in the eastern Bay of Plenty. He was one of nine children of Tiweka Ānaru, a farmer, and his wife, Paretio Heremia, both of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui. During his early childhood he gained a deep understanding of Māori culture...
Story: Ānaru, Karauria Tiweka
1870–1957Teacher, community leader, writer
Catherine Ann McHaffie was born at Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand, on 1 August 1870, the elder daughter of Ellen Leatherbarrow, a Londoner, and her husband, James McHaffie, a Scot who had come to New Zealand in the West Coast goldrush. James worked as a clerk and around 1875 the family...
Story: Andersen, Catherine Ann
Communist and trade unionist Bill Andersen was one of the best-known figures in New Zealand’s radical left in the middle decades of the twentieth century. An influential union leader in the 1950s and 1960s, he championed a variety of causes such as workers’ rights, Māori land rights, pacifism,...
1873–1962Clerk, poet, ethnologist, librarian, editor, historian
Johannes Carl Andersen was born on 14 March 1873 at Klakring, a village in Jutland, Denmark, the second child of Jørgen Andersen, a watchmaker, and his wife, Johanne Marie Hansen. The family arrived at Lyttelton, New Zealand, on the Gutenberg in October 1874. After a few months in the Oxford...
Story: Andersen, Johannes Carl
1909–2004Writer, rural memoirist
Mona Anderson, author of A river rules my life (1963) and nine other books, was one of New Zealand’s most popular and successful non-fiction authors of the 1960s and 1970s. Her books gave readers a window into life on a remote high-country station, with self-deprecating humour and an...
Story: Anderson, Amy Mona
1895–1958Ngāti Kura; riverboat skipper
Andrew Anderson, universally known as Andy, was born on 17 October 1895 at Pipiriki on the Whanganui River. He was the son of Andrew Joseph Thomas Anderson and his wife, Te Rākura (Te Rākura) Niu, of the local Ngāti Kura (Ngāti Kurawhatiia) iwi. His father had trained as a draughtsman in...
Story: Anderson, Andrew
Ellen Alice Anderson was born in Eketahuna on 22 June 1882, the sixth child of Swedish immigrants Johanna Manson and her husband, Anders Anderson, a farmer. Her parents had arrived in the district in 1873 and her father, together with other Scandinavian settlers, had worked on the road and...
Story: Anderson, Ellen Alice
1860–1935Compositor, proofreader, newspaper editor and manager, politician
George James Anderson was born at Back Creek, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, on 22 January 1860, the son of John Anderson, a carpenter, and his wife, Matilda Pattinson. As a young child George was brought to Lawrence, New Zealand, by his parents who were presumably attracted by the discovery of...
Story: Anderson, George James
1820–1897Blacksmith, engineer, businessman, local politician
John Anderson, son of Jean Harper and her husband, Alexander Anderson, a ploughman, was born on 7 November 1820 and baptised at Inveresk, near Edinburgh, Scotland. After an apprenticeship with a blacksmith, John was employed at the North British Railway Company, Leith, and in Edinburgh. He...
Story: Anderson, John
1887–1966Teacher, boarding-house keeper, community leader, politician
Mary Patricia Anderson was born on 17 March 1887 at Moonlight, an isolated goldmining settlement near Atarau in Westland's Grey River valley. One of at least eight children of Irish-born Catherine Flaherty and her Swedish husband, Anton Anderson, a miner, she spent her first years with her...
Story: Anderson, Mary Patricia
1888–1964Seaman, trade unionist
Thomas Frederick Anderson was born at Kirkdale, Liverpool, England, on 30 December 1888, the son of Monica Kelly and her husband, Thomas Weldon Anderson, an actor and comedian. After leaving school Tom joined the merchant marine. By 1911 he was in New Zealand, and in November that year he...
Story: Anderson, Thomas Frederick