John Kerr (Nelson politician)

John Kerr (1830 – 3 May 1898) was a 19th-century Member of Parliament from Nelson, New Zealand. As well as Lake Station (including Lake Rotoiti and Mt Robert), Kerr also owned the 70,000 acre Tarndale Run and 30,000 acres around the Wairau river before entering into a business partnership with Molesworth Station owner William Action-Adams. Kerr commissioned cob builder Ned James to build Tarndale homestead in 1874.


New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1885–1887 9th Waimea Independent
1887–1890 10th Motueka Independent

Kerr was born in 1830 in the south of Scotland. His father's name was also John Kerr. The family emigrated to New Zealand in 1842 on the Fifeshire and settled in Waimea West.[1]

Following the resignation from Parliament of Joseph Shephard, who had been appointed to the Legislative Council, a Waimea by-election was held on 3 June 1885. It was contested by six candidates: Kerr (253 votes), W. N. Franklyn (250 votes), William White (94 votes), Christian Dencker (91 votes), William Wastney (59 votes) and Jesse Piper (32 votes). Kerr was thus elected.[2][3]

Kerr represented the Waimea electorate until 1887, and then the Motueka electorate from 1887 to 1890.[4] In the 1890 general election, he contested the Nelson electorate and was narrowly defeated by Joseph Harkness.[5] The 1893 general election was contested by four candidates in Nelson: John Graham (1289 votes – elected), Richmond Hursthouse (1011 votes), Kerr (910 votes) and William Lock (74 votes).[6]

Kerr had a farm at Lake Rotoiti. He drowned in the lake in 1898.[7]


  1. ^ Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : A–L (PDF). I. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. pp. 462f. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Official Declaration of the Poll". Colonist. XXVIII (4170). 20 June 1885. p. 1. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Summary Notes". Colonist. XXVIII (4122). 25 April 1885. p. 3. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  4. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 210. OCLC 154283103.
  5. ^ "Nelson City". Colonist. XXXIV (5979). 6 December 1890. p. 3. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Nelson City". Nelson Evening Mail. XXVII (281). 29 November 1893. p. 2. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  7. ^ "The Late Mr John Kerr". The Press. LV (10032). 10 May 1898. p. 5. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Joseph Shephard
Member of Parliament for Waimea
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Richmond Hursthouse
Member of Parliament for Motueka
In abeyance
Title next held by
Roderick McKenzie

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