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Atkinson, Harry Albert

(1831-1892). New Zealand statesman who was a prominent Conservative politician. He was born in England at Broxton, Cheshire, on November 1, 1831. The family emigrated to New Zealand in 1853 and settled at New Plymouth. He was commissioned in the Taranaki Volunteer Rifles in 1860. He was elected to Parliament in 1861 and served as a Minister of Defense. He served as prime minister from 1876 to 1877, during which time he accomplished the abolition of the nine provincial governments. In 1877 the Liberals defeated his conservative party, but by 1879 he returned to serve as Colonial Treasurer at a time of financial depression which lasted for about 14 years. He was private minister from September 1883 to August 1884 and once again from 1884 to 1887.

Atkinson joined the Theosophical Society at the Wellington Lodge and although the continual demands on his time made by political necessity made it difficult for him to contribute markedly to theosophical work, it appears that he did make a considerable effort to bring theosophical idealism to the political arena.

Knighted in 1888, he died in Wellington on June 28, 1892.



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