Hon. Sir James Carroll


Ngāti Kahungunu (1857-1926)

Iwi map - Hon. Sir James CarrollIWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS

No te ao te hua-ra-tanga
Riro ki te po

What tender thoughts of thee arise;
My chieftain vanished in the night.1

So began the waiata-tangi chanted at the funeral in 1926 of Sir James Carroll, famed orator and well-respected politician.

Sir James Carroll was born in Wairoa in the Northern Hawkes Bay.  Known to Māori as Timi Kara, his father was an Australian immigrant of Irish descent, Joseph Carroll, and his mother, Tapuke, a 'woman of mana'2 of the Ngāti Kahungungu iwi.  James Carroll married Heni Materoa (Te Huinga) in 1881 and the couple settled in Gisborne.

Carroll began his working life as a junior in the Government's Native Department.  After a visit to the East Coast with Sir Donald McLean, Minister for Native Affairs, the young Carroll's ability was noted and he was offered a position in Wellington.3 Between 1879 and 1883, Carroll was an interpreter for the House of Representatives and this association contributed to his life-long interest in politics.  He gained the Eastern Māori seat in 1887 on the platform of control of Māori land by Māori.  In particular, he advocated leasing rather than selling, as a way to secure a stable income for iwi.  Over the course of his holding the general (European) seat of Waiapu from 1893 until 1919, he was twice Acting Prime Minister and held the Native Affairs portfolio for 13 years.

During his term as Minister for Native Affairs, he was instrumental in the drafting of legislation that led to Māori being able to deal directly in their own land affairs through the formation of Māori Land Councils.

The many photographs of James Carroll that exist in the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington show him to be a man who travelled widely in New Zealand, carrying out his political duties and enjoying the company of others in less formal settings.

Carroll stood for compromise and was well noted for his skills as a persuasive speaker.  He opposed aspects of Te Kotahitanga, Māori self-government, for practical reasons and because his aim was 'essentially … empowering Māori within modern economic life and securing their equality with Pākehā'.4


  1. MS Papers 00390691 Folder 8A Reel 2, Folders 7A-10A, Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library, Wellington.
  2. Alan Ward, ‘Carroll, James 1857-1926’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 7 July 2005, accessed 24 February 2010.
  3. MS Papers 0039-14 James Cowan Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library, Wellington.
  4. Alan Ward, ‘Carroll, James 1857-1926’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 7 July 2005, accessed 24 February 2010.
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  • Erina - Ngai Te Apatu

    At 8pm on 18 October 2010

    Ko Erina ano tenei e whakaetia mai ki te katoa kia haere mai ki te marae o Takitimu i te ono o nga ra o Whiringa a Rangi ki te whakanui te kaupapa mo "Te Hokinga Mai o te Taonga o Taa Timi Kara".

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    At 2am on 7 August 2010

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