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About Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe, GCMG, KBE, PC
Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe, GCMG, KBE, PC (21 September 1867 – 3 July 1958), was a British Conservative politician and colonial governor. He was Governor-General of New Zealand from 1930 to 1935.
Born in London and educated at Sherborne School, Eton and then University College, Oxford, where he studied law and graduated with a BA in 1890.
Member of Parliament
Bathurst worked as a barrister and conveyancer and in 1910 entered parliament representing the Conservative Party as MP for the South or Wilton division of Wiltshire. After serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, Bathurst was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1917, and raised to the peerage as Baron Bledisloe, of Lydney in the County of Gloucester. He remained in parliament until 1928, serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries from 1924 onwards, and was a member of the Privy Council from 1926.
Governor-General of New Zealand
After leaving parliament, Lord Bledisloe was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George and appointed the fourth Governor-General of New Zealand, an office he held from 1930 until 1935, proving to be extremely well liked and respected. His social conscience was much appreciated during the Depression era, as was his insistence that his salary should be cut as were the salaries of public servants at the time. Bledisloe also contributed to improved Pākehā – Māori relations, purchasing the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed and presenting it to the nation as a memorial. In 1934, the site was dedicated as a national reserve. The dedication ceremony attracted thousands of people, both Māori and Pākehā. Bledisloe continued to take an interest in the site even after his term expired and he returned to England. Bledisloe also contributed to the recognition of the Māori King Movement by developing a friendship with King Koroki and Te Puea Herangi, and his willingness to use the title "king" without reticence. Bledisloe also promoted various causes and events by the presentation of trophies, the most famous of these being the Bledisloe Cup, the trophy for an ongoing rugby union competition between New Zealand and Australia, first awarded in 1931, and currently contested annually.
In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.
Upon returning to England in 1935, he was made Viscount Bledisloe, of Lydney in the County of Gloucester. He continued to serve on a number of committees and councils, was awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of Bristol, Edinburgh and Oxford, and was made a fellow of University College, Oxford. Lord Bledisloe died, aged 90, at Lydney on 3 July 1958, and was succeeded as Viscount Bledisloe by his eldest son, Benjamin Ludlow Bathurst.
He was a freemason. During his term as Governor-General (1930-1933), he was also Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.
Upon its formation in 1888, Charles Bathurst was invited to become President of Lydney Rugby Football Club. He held this position for 70 years until his death and was succeeded as by his eldest son, Benjamin Ludlow Bathurst. The Bledisloe Cup and Bledisloe Park sports ground are both named for Bl
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