1878: Premier George Grey’s Tour
February 11, 2019
This month in history: Premier’s Tour, Feb 1878. Sir George Grey, the Premier, is on a Ministerial tour. Here’s a great photo from his visit to Kumara on the 25th.
George and friends have already toured the North Island during parliamentary recess and now it is the turn of the “Middle Island” to enjoy their graces. Nobody had ever done this sort of national tour politics before Grey but he would not be the last.
Local supplicants across the districts chauffeured, fed, toasted, and roomed the important guests with child-like faith in the political influence of hospitality.
The Mayor of Kumara, Richard Seddon, must be one of the central blobs in this picture. Like Grey, he would be a great travelling showman such as New Zealand has never seen again since Rob Muldoon in 1975.
What do you suppose they’re talking about at this meeting? I suppose it’s the start of Grey’s wedging apart of town and country. He’s turning the townsfolk on the farmer with a view to championing them by busting up big estates. He is promising reduced duties on tea and sugar which his new right hand man Balance (not in photo) would soon deliver.
Image ref. West Coast Recollect
Other images: Old Grey; Seddon dressed up and in his prime