Life in Early Poverty Bay
Only Member to Represent Both Races
Only Member to Represent Both Races.
After acting as an interpreter for close on three years, Sir James decided to contest the Eastern Maori seat against Wi Pere, the sitting member, but Wi Pere won by 23 votes. If he had entered upon a more lengthy campaign—he was only a fortnight in the field—the contest might have resulted differently. As matters stood, he had no chance of covering an electorate which extended over nearly a third of the North Island! In the interim, until the next election came round, Sir James acted as interpreter for Judge Rogan of the Native Land Court. Then came another appeal to the electors and, this time, in 1887, he turned the tables on Wi Pere. On the occasion of the succeeding general election, he was again successful. In 1893 Sir James decided to be an aspirant for the Gisborne electorate. His opponent was Mr. C. A. deLautour, and both were Liberals. Sir James was successful, winning the seat by a majority of 500. He continued as the representative of Gisborne in the House until 1919 when, in a threecornered fight—Mr Lysnar and Mr Brindle being the other candidates—he lost the seat to Mr. Lysnar. Subsequently he was appointed to the Upper House.page break