Story: Divorce and separation



Sir George Grey, twice New Zealand’s governor in the mid-19th century, and premier in the 1870s, separated from his wife, Eliza (née Spencer), in 1861, after a period living in South Africa. Eliza Grey believed her husband was having affairs. While the couple were travelling between England and South Africa, Grey learnt that Eliza had fallen in love with another man on board the ship, and had her put ashore in Rio de Janeiro. Grey adopted his niece, Anne Thorne George, who became his companion, ran his household, and helped host social gatherings. They are shown here in the drawing room at Grey’s home on Kawau Island, about 1870. Grey and his wife were reconciled in 1897, 36 years after separating. Both died the following year.

Using this item

Auckland City Libraries - Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Reference: 7-A3034

Permission of Auckland City Libraries Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Divorce and separation - 19th-century divorce and desertion', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 April 2024)

Story by Megan Cook, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 8 Nov 2018