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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Hon. Robert Pharazyn

The Hon. Robert Pharazyn, M.L.C., F.R.G.S., J.P., was born in London in 1833. He is the eldest son of Mr. C. J. Pharazyn, who has been a prominent colonist in New Zealand for over half a century, having arrived in Wellington in 1841 per barque “Jane.” The Hon. Mr. Pharazyn was educated at private schools and at St. John's College, Auckland, under Bishop Selwyn. For some years he was engaged in pastoral pursuits in Hawkes Bay, where he was one of the earliest runholders, taking also an active part in local matters. In 1860 Mr. Pharazyn went to England, and travelled on the Continent of Europe, returning to New Zealand in 1863. Becoming known by contributions to the press in favour of the Colony having full control of native as of European affairs, he was in 1865 elected, on the retirement of the late Sir W. Fox, to the House of Representatives as member for Rangitikei. He was also returned as a member of the Wellington Provincial Council. For some years he was a member of the Provincial Executive, and at the time (1876) when the provinces were abolished, held the offices of Provincial Secretary and Treasurer. The hon. gentleman was Commissioner of Confiscated Lands under the Fox Administration; he administered the lands on the West Coast of the North Island, retiring with the thanks of the Government for his zeal and ability when, in 1873, the office was abolished for political reasons. Mr. Pharazyn is the owner of the well-known property “Marahau,” over 5000 acres in extent, in the Waitotara County, through which the Wanganui-New Plymouth Railway passes. While improving this fine estate he resided in Wanganui for some years, and found time to serve the public in various capacities. He was for several years chairman page 252 The Hon. Robert Pharazyn of the Waitotara Highway Board, now the Waitotara County Council. In 1874 he was Mayor of Wanganui, and has acted as a member of the Hospital Board and in other matters. While a resident of Wanganui, Mr. Pharazyn assisted in the starting of the Wanganui and Castlecliff Railway, of which he was chairman. In 1885 the honourable gentleman was called to the Legislative Council, on the retirement of his father from that body owing to advanced age. In the following year he acted as one of the commissioners for New Zealand at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition. Mr. Pharazyn is a decided member of the Opposition. Belonging to the old Liberal Party, he detests the new, and does not believe in the aggressive policy of the present Government. He believes that the present policy will redound to the disadvantage of working men by the reduction of wages and employment. He claims that his opinions are not swayed by personal interests, believing as he does that rapid accumulation of capital and industrial freedom is a necessity to provide increased employment. The Hon. Mr. Pharazyn was married in 1871 to a sister of the late Mr. Henry W. Cole, Q.C