Continuous Ministry (New Zealand)

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The Continuous Ministry was the government of New Zealand from 1876 to 1890 (or 1887), except for 1877–79 and 1884–87.


Sir Harry Atkinson was the leading figure, although Sir John Hall and Sir Frederick Whitaker also served as Premiers, and William Rolleston was also part of the ministry. The term derives from William Pember Reeves, who as a Liberal politician emphasised the oligarchical and conservative tendencies of the ministry members, and downplayed as reformers from above Atkinson and Rolleston, even though they advocated some reforms similar to those of the Liberals of the 1890s.[1] A later historian, Keith Sinclair, detached the Scarecrow Ministry of 1887–90 as a new government rather than a continuation of the Continuous Ministry, although this ministry was formed by Atkinson.[2] As formal political parties did not exist at this time, ministries had to be formed by negotiation with individual members, and were liable to be defeated.

The ministries of the Continuous Ministry were:

The two (or three) ministries in the period that were not part of the Continuous Ministry were:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sinclair 1988, p. 169.
  2. ^ Hamer, David (1988). The New Zealand Liberals: The Years of Power, 1891–1912 (1 ed.). Auckland: Auckland University Press. p. 15. ISBN 1-86940-014-3.


Further reading[edit]

  • Bassett, Judith (1975). Sir Harry Atkinson. Auckland: Auckland University Press. ISBN 0-19-647934-7.
  • Bassett, Judith (1968), "Sir Harry Atkinson and the Conservative Faction in New Zealand Politics, 1879-90", New Zealand Journal of History, 2 (2): 130–47
  • Dalziel, Raewyn (1987), "The 'Continuous Ministry' revisited", New Zealand Journal of History, 21 (1): 46–61