Story: Governors and governors-general

Letters patent

This decorative document is the 'letters patent' appointing William Hobson as lieutenant governor of New Zealand in 1839. George Gipps, governor of New South Wales, was in fact the first governor of New Zealand, but he delegated his powers to Hobson.

The document reads:

Victoria R

Victoria by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith – To Our Trusty and Wellbeloved Willm Hobson Esquire, Captain of the Royal Navy Greeting. Whereas We did by certain Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland bearing date at Westminster the 5th day of October 1837 in the First year of Our Reign constitute and appoint Our Trusty and Wellbeloved Sir George Gipps, Knight, to be Our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Our Territory of New South Wales, comprised within the limits therein mentioned. And Whereas We did by certain other Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Our said United Kingdom, bearing date at Westminster the 15th day of June 1839 in the Third Year of Our Reign revoke so much of the said first recited Letters Patent as describes the limits of Our said Territory of New South Wales, and did further extend the limits of Our said Territory of New South Wales (subject to such exception as is therein particularly made of certain Territories now forming the Province of South Australia) from the Northern Cape or extremity of the Coast called Cape York in the latitude of 10 Degrees 37 Minutes South to the Southern extremity of the said Territory of New South Wales or Wilson’s promontory in the latitude of 39 Degrees 12 Minutes South and of all of the Country inland to the Westward as far as the 129th Degree of East longitude reckoning for the Meridian of Greenwich including all the Islands adjacent in the Pacific Ocean within the latitude aforesaid of 10 Degrees 37 Minutes South and 39 Degrees 12 Minutes South, and also including Norfolk Island lying in or about the latitude of 29 Degrees 3 Minutes South and 168 Degrees of East Longitude from the said Meridian of Greenwich, and also including any Territory which is or maybe acquired in Sovereignty by Us Our Heirs or Successors within that group of Islands in the Pacific Ocean commonly called New Zealand, and lying in or about the latitude of 34 Degrees Minutes and 47 Degrees 10 Minutes South, and 166 Degrees 5 Minutes and 179 Degrees East longitude from the said Meridian of Greenwich. Now Know you that We reposing especial Trust and Confidence in the Prudence Courage and Loyalty of you the said Willm Hobson do by these Present constitute and appoint you to be Our Lieutenant Governor in and over that part of Our Territory so described as foresaid in Our said last recited Letters Patent which is or maybe acquired in Sovereignty by Us Our Heirs or Successors within that group of Islands in the Pacific Ocean commonly called New Zealand, lying in or about the latitude of 34 Degrees Minutes and 47 Degrees 10 Minutes South, and 166 Degrees 5 Minutes and 179 Degrees East longitude reckoning from the Meridian of Greenwich. To have hold exercise and enjoy the said Office of Lieutenant Governor during Our Pleasure: And We do hereby command that in the execution of such your Office you do obey all such lawful Instructions as may be from time to time addressed to you by Our Trusty and Wellbeloved Sir George Gipps, Our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Our Territory of New South Wales and its Dependencies or in the event of his death or absence from the limits of his Government and command by the Officer for the time being administering the Government of Our said Territory and its Dependencies. And Whereas it is necessary that provision be made for the execution of the Office of Our Lieutenant Governor of Our said Territories in New Zealand in the event of your Death or absence therefrom, We do therefore by these Presents authorise and empower the said Sir George Gipps or the Officer Administering the Government of Our said Territory of New South Wales and its Dependencies for the time being to nominate and appoint by an Instrument under the Public Seal of Our said Territory of New South Wales, such person as he may think fit to act provisionally as Our Lieutenant Governor of Our said Territories in New Zealand in the contingency of such your Death or absence therefrom, or until other or further provision shall be made by Us in that behalf. And We do hereby give and grant to the Officer so to be provisionally appointed as aforesaid, during the continuance of such his authority full power to hold exercise and enjoy the said Office of Our Lieutenant Governor of Our said Territories in New Zealand as fully and in every respect as effectually as the same as is hereby vested in you, or may be by virtue hereof be held, exercised or enjoyed by you – Given at Our Court at Buckingham Palace the 30th day of July 1839, in the Third Year of Our Reign

By Her Majesty’s Command

Normanby

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How to cite this page:

Gavin McLean, 'Governors and governors-general - Governing Britain’s empire', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/zoomify/33636/letters-patent (accessed 21 July 2018)

Story by Gavin McLean, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 28 Sep 2016