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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Hon. William Hunter Reynolds

The Hon. William Hunter Reynolds, M.L.C., held a portfolio in four successive Governments. He was Commissioner of Customs in the Waterhouse Ministry from the 26th of October, 1872, in the Fox Ministry from the 3rd of March to the 8th of April, 1873, and again in the Vogel Ministry from the 8th of April, 1873, to the 6th of July, 1875; Colonial Secretary in the same Ministry from the 14th of April to the 4th July, 1873, and Commissioner of Customs again in the Pollen Ministry from the 6th of July, 1875, to the 15th of February, 1876. He joined the Stout-Vogel Ministry without portfolio on the 3rd of September, 1884, holding this position till the 3rd of January, 1885, and also from the 3rd of June, 1886, to the 8th of October, 1887. He was a member of the Executive Council in both these instances. He is the youngest son of the late Mr. Thomas Reynolds, merchant, of Spain, Portugal, and London, who, along with his son and other members of the family, settled in Otago in 1851, and died from injuries received when his house was destroyed by fire a few years later. Born in Chatham, Kent, on the 1st of May, 1822, the subject of this notice went with his father and family to Spain and Portugal, and resided there for thirteen years. He entered early into mercantile life in connection with his father's firm, Thomas Reynolds and Son. Returning to Britain from Spain and Portugal, he took charge of his father's branch of the business in London at the age of twenty, and managed it for nine years. In 1848, while thus engaged, he carried on an agency business in the same office on his own account, and continued in both page 74 capacities till leaving for the Colony. Not long after arrival he visited California with a cargo from Hobart, Tasmania. On his return to New Zealand, Mr. Reynolds became a partner in the firm of Messrs. James Macandrew and Co., in which he held his interest till 1858. In this year he erected a stone building—the first and only bonded store in Dunedin—which had a capacity of 5000 tons, and served the purpose intended up to the time of the first gold discoveries in the province. He leased the bonded store as soon as erected, but continued actively engaged in business in the Edinburgh of New Zealand till 1867, when he retired. The honourable gentleman's political career dates from 1853, when he was elected a member of the first Provincial Council, in which he held a seat up to the abolition of this form of Government in 1876. He was several times a member of the Provincial Executive, and for four years was the Speaker of the Council. Mr. Reynolds, as a member of the Provincial Executive in 1856, rendered good service as honorary Immigration Agent in Victoria for the province, making two trips, which resulted
The Hon. William Hunter Reynolds

Photo by Kinsey.

in the introduction of about 600 settlers, most of whom purchased land in Otago. Subsequently, also, as a member of the Provincial Executive, he gave his services by assisting Mr. James Adam, the paid agent, to secure settlers from England, and succeded in bringing out about 3000 people within eighteen months. As a member of the House of Representatives, he was returned in 1863 for Dunedin, which he represented till 1876, and for two sessions subsequently he sat for Port Chalmers. In 1878, having resigned his seat, he was called to the Legislative Council, of which he is still a member. Mr. Reynolds is a member of the Council of the Otago University, and of the Church Property Board. From his first arrival in January, 1851, till August, 1885, he was Lloyds' agent in Dunedin; he then resigned in favour of Mr. George L. Denniston. The honourable gentleman is vice-president of the Dunedin Savings Bank, chairman of the Otago Daily Times and Witness Company, of the Dunedin Board of the South British Fire and Marine Insurance Company, and of the Mutual Life Assurance Society of Victoria. He is a director of the Colonial Bank of New Zealand, Messrs. Neill and Co., Limited, the Westport Coal Company, Limited, and the Perpetual Trustees Executors and Agency Company of New Zealand, Limited. In 1856 Mr. Reynolds was married to Miss Rachael Selina, daughter of Mr. William Pinkerton, Runholder, of South Australia and Otago, and has four sons and five daughters. Mr. Leslie Hunter Reynolds, the eldest, was under Sir John Coode, marine engineer, and afterwards served under Messrs. Livesey in South America. Mr. Eardley Culley Reynolds—second son—is a member of the firm of Park, Reynolds and Co., auctioneers, Dunedin. The two younger, Messrs. William Eric and Alick Gillespie are partners in the firm of W. E. Reynolds and Co., wool, grain, and seed merchants, Dunedin. Mr. Reynold's eldest daughter is married to Mr. George L. Denniston merchant, Dunedin.