Election Day through the Years

General elections have always been important public events. But the experience of voting in the 1850s was very different from today.history-voting-slip_0.jpg

In those years, there was no single election day. Elections were organised locally, and each returning officer was usually responsible for several electorates. Therefore elections were staggered over weeks or even months.

The first parliamentary elections in 1853 began on 14 July (in the Bay of Islands) and ended on 1 October (in Otago). There were only 24 electorates, but some of them returned two or three members, so 37 representatives were elected. The first Parliament met in May 1854 in Auckland (which was the capital until 1865).

Did you know?

A single election day throughout New Zealand was not introduced until 1881. Even then, elections in general (European) and Maori seats were held on different days until 1951.



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Last updated: 15 February 2013