Alfred Domett

Alfred Domett

name=Hon. Alfred Domett
order=4th Premier of New Zealand

term_start=6 August 1862
term_end=30 October 1863
predecessor=William Fox
successor=Frederick Whitaker
birth_date=birth date|1811|5|20|df=y
birth_place=Camberwell Grove, Surrey, England
death_date=death date and age|1887|11|2|1811|5|20|df=y

Alfred Domett, CMG (20 May, 1811 – 2 November, 1887) was an English colonial statesman and poet. He was born at Camberwell Grove, Surrey; his father was a ship-owner. He entered St John's College, Cambridge, but left the university in 1833.


Domett published one or two volumes of poetry from 1833, and contributed several poems to "Blackwood's Magazine", one of which, "A Christmas Hymn", attracted attention. He was called to the bar, but for ten years he lived a life of ease in London, where he became the intimate friend of Robert Browning, of whose poem "Waring" he was the subject. An account of the friendship between the two men appeared in "The Contemporary Review" for January 1905, by W. H. Griffin ["Robert Browning and Alfred Domett", edited by F. G. Kenyon, 1906)] .

Among his books of poetry, "Ranolf and Amohia, a South Sea Day Dream" (1872), about Māori life, is the best known, and "Flotsam and Jetsam" (1877) is dedicated to Browning.

New Zealand politics

In 1842 Domett emigrated to New Zealand, where he filled many important administrative posts, being Colonial Secretary for New Munster in 1848, secretary for the colony in 1851, and Premier from 1862 to 1863. The most noteworthy change Domett brought about during his tenure in office was the moving of New Zealand's capital from Auckland to Wellington in 1865. In November 1863 he moved a resolution before Parliament that "it has become necessary that the seat of government... should be transferred to some suitable locality in Cook Strait." [Phillip Temple: "Wellington Yesterday"] He returned to England in 1871 and became a CMG in 1880.


* [ Prime Ministers’ Office biography]


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