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The 1881 General Election for  South Canterbury

Geraldine had 1385 on the electoral roll and 1064 recorded their votes or 76.8%
Timaru had 1112 names on the electoral roll 640 only recorded their votes or 57.5%

Secret Poll - a shew of hands

Timaru Herald 3 December 1881, Page 2
The nomination of candidates for the representation of the electoral district of Geraldine in the House of Representatives took place at the Courthouse, Temuka, yesterday. A spacious hustings had been erected on the east side of the building for the convenience of candidates addressing the electors, of whom there were between 200 and 300 present, and at noon the Returning Officer, Mr G. Dyson, announced from though front thereof the purpose for which the; had assembled, and read the Queen's writ.

Mr J. H. Lynch then came forward amidst considerable uproar And proposed Mr John Hayhurst as a fit and proper person to represent the district in the coming Parliament. Mr K. F. Gray, in seconding the nomination, expressed surprise at the previous elector getting upon the platform to nominate Mr Hayhurst, but an be had done so, he (Mr Gray) could only second it.

After waiting a considerable time without a sign being made to nominate any other candidate, Mr Coltman went forward and proposed Mr Edward Wakefield. Dr Fish said he had very great pleasure in seconding be nomination of Mr Wakefield, as a gentleman well qualified to represent this district. In the General Assembly Mr Wakefield had some claim upon them as being their former representative. He was quite aware some of the best men in the district were opposing him, but as he had given him his support before, he would not like to throw him over now.

Mr Joshua Page proposed Mr William Postlethwaite as a fit and proper parson to represent the district of Geraldine. He said he felt a little diffidence in proposing a candidate, not being a resident of the district, but he felt it to be a duty m doing so, especially as he was a gentleman who would work heart and soul to leave them if elected. Mr P.H. McShane seconded the former speaker's nomination.

The Returning Officer then called for a show of hands, which resulted as follows :~
John Hayhurst 45
Edward Wakefield, 40
William Postlethwaite 14.
The show of hands being declared in favor of Mr Hayhurst, Mr Postlethwaite demanded a poll, which the Returning Officer notified would be taken on Friday next, and that the official declaration would be made at 4.30 p.m. the following day (Saturday).

Timaru Herald, 10 December 1881, Page 2
Geraldine Dec. 9. The township was quite lively from early morning, traps and other vehicles flying about collecting voters almost before the poll opened. There was a good deal of excitement, which increased as the day wore on. The rumor that Mr John Hayhurst had resigned was received early, but with much distrust, and paused much perplexity. About four o'clock the report was confirmed by Mr Edward Wakefield and Mr William Postlethwaite, who arrived from Temuka almost simultaneously.

Polling results for that county were manipulated

Timaru Herald, 22 December 1881, Page 3

To The Editor of the Timaru Herald
Sir, — Mr Hayhurst's explanatory account of his electioneering experience given in today's Herald bears a curious contrast to the real facts, which come a long way nearer truth in the following narrative than the protestations and explanations of the "die-away candidate " for Geraldine. It may be new as well as interesting to many of your readers to know how the polling results for that county were manipulated.

On the day preceding the election a joint meeting of Messrs Postlethwaite's and Hayhurst Committees took place. An examination of the roll by them showed a majority of about 160 for Mr Wakefield if the three candidates ran. It was then decided, that as Mr Hayhurst had least show, to make it publicly known, with his consent, that he had scratched and handed over his following to Mr Postlethwaite. The country was scoured to let this be known, and the "turn over" was made in this grazing district, where not a few voters can be tailed and yarded like the sheep which are raised there. I am, &c, NEMESIS.

Electoral Results and Effigy

In 1881 South Canterbury sent four representatives to the General Assembly. The ballot took place on 9th December.
Electoral District Candidate Votes
Timaru R. Turnbull 413
   J.S. Gibson 150
  James T. Partridge, a Labour Candidate 77
Gladstone Captain Sutter 302
  Dr Fisher 251
  Newton 11
  Anderson 76
Waimate J. Manchester 332
  J.R. Clement 41
  W.J. Steward 490
  W. Bateman 47
Geraldine J. Hayhurst 63
  E. Wakefield 483
  W. Postlethwaite 518

Timaru Herald, 12 December 1881, Page 2

Timaru. The official declaration of the poll for the district of Timaru was made at noon on Saturday, in the presence of about 200 persons. The Returning Officer, in making the declaration, laid there were no alteration inthe numbers as announced by him on the previous evening. There were 11 informal votes, and 2 were set aside. The total number of votes polled was 653. There were more informal votes than than should have been. Some people thought all the candidates were good and cancelled none of their names, while others thought they were not good enough and cancelled the lot, and to matters  worse had signed their names at the bottom. (Laughter.) He then declared Mr Richard Turnbull duly elected at member of the House of Representatives, the announcement being received with cheers.

Mr Turnbull thanked the electors for returning him, and also for the Liberal party in Parliament, for they had nobly supported them in South Canterbury. In the midst of shepherd kings, and in the home of the squatters they had shown by returning him that the principles of that party must be brought into use. From the time of the passing of the High School Bill until the passing of the Timaru Harbor Board Endowment Bill his friends had warmly supported him and they had amply shown it by again returning him to Parliament that day. He was astonished at the result, because, for four sessions, there had been nothing but continued misrepresentations and untruths appearing against him in a certain journal of the town. The day of victory should be a day of moderation, but with him it would be more, it would be a day of mercy. He would, therefore, not hold the journal up to that scorn it deserved, as he otherwise would do. If there was anything he felt more proud of it was having the esteem of the citizens of Timaru. He wanted not only that, but their affections, and everything that could be done to rob him of both had been done, but without the slightest effect whatever. Continually these gross misrepresentations were made, and they must have had their intended effect had it not been for the efforts made by his friends to refute them. He would not now go into the question, but he would say it had constantly, does constantly and will constantly misrepresent the whole of the district and the people here so long as it remained under its present management. In the course of conduct he had pursued towards the Herald, it had not been for honor and glory but as a matter of public utility, at a Dutch burgomaster hunts a rat out of a dyke to save a province. He again thanked the electors for returning him, and said no sacrifice on his part would be too great for the honor which had been conferred upon him. (Applause.) ..

The horses were then taken out of a cab which was standing in the street and Mr Turnbull seated therein was drawn by tome half dozen men and boys through the main street, a stoppage being made m front of the Herald office, where three cheers were called for Mr Turnbull and three groans for the Herald, which were very faintly responded to. The small crowd then proceeded as far at the South Canterbury Times office, and three cheers being given for that journal the cab was taken back as far as George street, where Mr Turnbull was deposited.

GERALDINE. The official declaration of the result of the polling for the Geraldine electoral district took place on Saturday last, at the husttings which had been erected for the purposes of nomination day. There was a large muster of electors and others, and at the time notified the Returning Officer, Mr Dyaon, ascended the hustings, and, claiming their attention for a few minutes, read the returns from the various polling booths, which gave the totals for each candidate as follows : — Postlethwaite, 615; Wakefield, 482; Hayhurst, 63; majority for Postlethwaite, 33; informal votes, 22. He therefore declared Mr William Postlethwaite duly elected as the representative of the district in Parliament. (Groans and cheers.) Mr Postlethwaite then came forward and said that, as he had told them before, this was one of the proudest days of his life ; the people of that district had returned him at the head of the poll, and he thanked them for the honor they had conferred upon him. They would find that their confidence was not misplaced. (Cheers.)

Mr Hayhurst then stood forward, but he met with a most ignominious reception. Groanings, howls and yells of disapprobation assailed him on all sides, and a tussock was hurled at him, which all but struck him. He attempted to speak, but his voice was completely drowned m the tumult and uproar. At this stage of the proceedings Mr David Leach was bundled on to the hustings, the steps having been previously removed, and this was the cue for renewed groans and laughter. There being no signs of a cessation of the noises, Mr Wakefield appealed to those below to give Mr Hayhurst a hearing, but his appeal was unavailing, the electors being apparently determined to mark their sense of the manner in which they had been treated. Mr Hayhurst did his best to make himself heard above the deafening storms of execrations but he only elicited such cries at "You're not a man of your word, Mr Hayhurst, " and "Serve him right."

The majority of those present having by this time shrieked themselves out of voice Mr Hayhurst continued to speak, and said that the present was one of those cases in which he could say "Save me from my friends." He did not want to excuse the thing that had been done it had been forced upon him by his friends, and Mr Wakefield would have done the same thing himself if he had seen that his election was hopeless. His supporters bad advised him to act as he had done, and the fault was not his. — (Interruptions.) A flax noose was here thrown on the hustings with an intimation that it was for Mr Hayhurst to hang himself with, (Storms of yells and groans.) Mr Hayhurst continued to say that other people had a perception of honor as well as Mr Wakefield. (A voice : You've got none.) Reports had been circulated to injure him, but those who tried to injure others, the evil always came back to them. He was not sorry for the course adopted— (uproar) — and he could declare that he had never asked for a single vote. The noise now increased to such a pitch that Mr Hayhurst could not be heard even by those close to him on the hustings, and after vainly attempting to make his voice heard above the din, be retired. Mr Wakefield stepped forward again, and the tumult changed at one into vociferous acclimations of sympathy and approval, which having subsided, Mr Wakefield said he had great pleasure in proposing a vote of thanks to the Returning Officer. (Cheers.) Mr Postlethwaite claimed the privilege as his, but Mr Wakefield observed that, whatever the English custom might be, it was the custom in the colonies for the defeated candidate to propose the vote, and he claimed the right to do so. He would move a hearty vote of thanks to the Returning Officer, Mr G. Dyson. (Prolonged cheering and throwing of hats.)

Mr Postlethwaite again came forward and attempted to speak, but he was met with such a volley of groans and yells that his remarks were perfectly inaudible. The candidates then descended from the hustings, and Mr Wakefield was immediately rushed and carried shoulder high up the main street to the Royal Hotel, Mr Postlethwaite being carried in a similar way to Quinn's.

As the evening train puffed out of the township the groans and yells which reached the ears of the passengers told of some intense excitement, and later, when evening had set in, a figure bearing a rude likeness to Mr Hayhurst after being subjected to all kinds of insults and indignities, was conducted to a vacant section in the centre of the town, and was well beaten with sticks and cudgels. Not content with this, and further to appease their wrath, the electors kindled a fire, and all that remained of him was unceremoniously pitch into it, and Mr Hayhurst was burnt effigy.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project

Timaru Herald, 31 October 1881, Page 2

There is no reason in the world, that we know of, why a working man should not make just as good a politician as anybody else. It is not the coat that is on a man's back or the implement that is in his hands, that makes him fit or unfit to lead his fellow men. It is the heart that is under his ribs and the brain that is in his head. If they are right, if he is courageous, honest and able, his mere outward circumstances need not be an obstacle to his taking his place fearlessly in the public councils of his country. If they are wrong, if he is a sneak, a self-seeking humbug, a coward or a fool, he is quite unfit for any public position, whether he is a working man or a millionaire. That is the point to which we desire most particularly to draw attention. It does not matter three straws what class a public man happens to belong to, provided that he is good of his class. If the working men of New Zealand, therefore, mean to send representatives to Parliament from among their own body, let them bring forward the best among them, men whom they themselves look up to and put faith in, men whom they are not ashamed to acknowledge as leaders, at their work or in the face of the whole world. If they do that, they may depend upon it they will sooner or later get their candidates m, will be well represented, and will exercise an appreciable influence upon public affairs. If on the other hand, they bring forward "duffers," men whom they themselves despise and distrust, they might just as well, as far as we can see, not have a vote at all.

The representation of the goldfields was notoriously bad, the miners taking apparently but little intelligent interest in politics, and sending to Parliament, as a rule, mere "carpet baggers," men, that is to say, who went into politics for the sake of what they could make. At length the folly of this was pointed out to the miners by a leading public man of the time, who strongly urged them, if they could not get men of good character, education and social standing combined, to send real miners, the best they could get, who at all events would be respected and would know all about goldfields subjects. They did so in the succeeding Parliament, and the results were sufficiently satisfactory to make it a matter for regret that they have not adhered to the practice ever since.