Henry Bunny

Henry Bunny
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Wairarapa
In office
29 July 1865 â€“ 8 November 1881
Preceded by Charles Carter
Succeeded by in abeyance
Personal details
Born (1822-10-07)7 October 1822
Newbury, Berkshire, England
Died 15 February 1891(1891-02-15) (aged 68)
Featherston, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealand
Political party Independent
Relations Charles H. Broad (grandson)
Edward Broad (grandson)
Occupation solicitor

Henry Bunny (7 October 1822 – 15 February 1891) was a 19th-century Member of Parliament in the Wairarapa, New Zealand.

Early life

Henry Bunny was born in 1822 in Newbury in Berkshire, the second son of Jere Bunny, solicitor, of that town and his wife, Clara, only surviving daughter of Samuel Slocock, banker, also of Newbury.[1] He married Catherine Bunny (nÊe Baker, born 24 June 1818 in Newbury)[2] on 22 October 1844.[1]

Scandal in England

Bunny was a partner in his father's firm of Newbury solicitors. He was town clerk of Newbury between 1849 and 1853. He fled to New Zealand in 1853 and was declared a bankrupt after the scandalous collapse of a property development scheme at Donnington Square in Newbury. He was struck off by the Law Society in 1859.[1]

Career in New Zealand

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1865–1876 3rd Wairarapa Independent
1866–1870 4th Wairarapa Independent
1871–1875 5th Wairarapa Independent
1876–1879 6th Wairarapa Independent
1879–1881 7th Wairarapa Independent

Bunny emigrated to New Zealand together with his wife and children,[3] his sister and her husband, Rev. Arthur Baker, on the Duke of Portland, leaving Plymouth on 19 November 1853.[1][4][5] He settled on a sheep station in the Wairarapa and built a house named Longwood after Napoleon's residence in exile on Saint Helena.[6] Bunny applied to the New Zealand Bar, was admitted in 1858, but became the first member to be disbarred when it was discovered his sponsor, Rev. Arthur Baker, was his brother-in-law.[5] Baker became involved in a later scandal and was branded 'the horse-whipped vicar'.[5]

Bunny was on the Wellington Provincial Council, representing Wairarapa (1864–1865) and then Wairarapa West (1865–1876).[7] He was on the Executive Council (1871–1873)[8] and was Secretary-Treasurer and the Council's last Deputy-Superintendent in 1876.[9] He was elected to represent the Wairarapa electorate in the New Zealand General Assembly from an 1865 by-election to 1881, when he was defeated for the new electorate of Wairarapa South by Walter Clarke Buchanan.[10]

A resignation in the Thorndon electorate caused an 1884 by-election. At the nomination meeting, Thomas Dwan, Alfred Newman and Henry Bunny were proposed as candidates, with Dwan winning the show of hands.[11] At the election on 14 May 1884, Newman, Bunny and Dwan received 636, 379 and 121 votes, respectively.[12]

Bunny was defeated by Buchanan in the 1884 election in Wairarapa South,[13] and in 1887 and 1890 in Wairarapa.[14][15]

Family, death and commemoration

Bunny's first wife died on 24 July 1864. She was buried at Bolton Street Cemetery in Wellington.[2] On 30 January 1867 at Featherston, Bunny married Eliza "Bessie" Thorne, the daughter of Samuel Thorne from Chapeltown in Yorkshire, England.[16]

On 3 October 1867 at St Mary's Cathedral in Wellington, Isabella Mary Bunny (1849–1932), his second daughter from his first marriage, married Lowther Broad (1840–1892).[17] Broad had been goldfields warden at Queenstown,[18] was resident magistrate in Arrowtown at the time of their wedding, and later a judge at the District Court in Nelson.[19] Charles Broad (1828–1879) was Lowther Broad's elder brother.[18] Charles Harrington Broad (1872–1959), a cricketer and school principal, was the son of Isabella and Lowther Broad.[20]

In 1878 his daughter Eleanor Caroline (Nellie) Bunny (1860–1938) married runholder Edward Riddiford.[citation needed]

Bunny committed suicide on 15 February 1891. He went to the Road Board office in his home town Featherston, asked for the key to the office and once he arrived there, shot himself through the heart with a revolver.[21] He was buried at Featherston Cemetery.[22] The village of Bunnythorpe is named after him.[23] His second wife died at Opaki, a small village near Masterton, in 1915 aged 80. She was buried at Masterton Cemetery.[24]