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1944 Christchurch mayoral election

1944 Christchurch mayoral election

← 1941 27 May 1944 1947 →
Candidate Ernest Andrews Robert Macfarlane
Party Citizens' Labour
Popular vote 22,765 13,702
Percentage 62.43 37.57

Mayor before election

Ernest Andrews

Elected Mayor

Ernest Andrews

The 1944 Christchurch City mayoral election was held on 27 May. The incumbent was Ernest Andrews of the conservative Citizens' Association. Andrews was challenged by his predecessor, Robert Macfarlane, of the Labour Party, who had returned from active war service. Andrews won by a large majority.[1]


Andrews was the only person who sought nomination from the Citizens' Association. His candidacy for the group was decided on 17 February 1944.[2]

Macfarlane had been the mayor from 1938 to 1941, and had not stood in the previous election as he wanted to go to war. He was discharged from the army after serving in the Middle East for two and a half years due to ill health.[3] When Andrews' nomination was announced, the local newspaper The Press stated that the Labour Party had yet to make its selection, but that "it is said to be certain" that Macfarlane would be their candidate.[4] Three Labour candidates sought nomination: Macfarlane (who had been MP for Christchurch South since a 1939 by-election), Mabel Howard (who had become MP for Christchurch East in a 1943 by-election, and Harold Denton (an unsuccessful candidate in the Riccarton electorate in the 1943 general election).[5] Macfarlane's selection was announced on 17 March 1944.[6]


Ernest Andrews

Ernest Herbert Andrews was a senior city councillor whose candidacy was announced on 17 February 1944. Andrews had been born in 1873 near Nelson. He had studied at Canterbury University College and had been a school teacher in various parts of the country before settling in Christchurch with a printing business in 1907. A representative cricketer, he was involved with numerous organisations.[7] He had continuously been a member of Christchurch City Council since 1919, had chaired almost every council committee, and had been deputy-mayor under John Beanland (1936–1938).[8] He had first stood for mayor in the 1941 local election and was the incumbent.[7]

Robert Macfarlane

Macfarlane was born in Christchurch in 1900. Raised by his grandmother, he attended Waltham School and may have had two years of high school. He worked in various labour job. In 1918, he joined the Christchurch Socialist Party and became its president shortly after. In 1919, he joined the Christchurch South branch of the Labour Party. When the Christchurch East branch of the Labour Party was founding in 1922, Macfarlane became its inaugural secretary. In 1925, he became secretary of the North Canterbury Labour Representation Committee.[3][9] He was first elected onto Christchurch City Council in 1927 but failed to get re-elected in 1929. In the 1935 general election, he stood in the Christchurch North electorate and got narrowly beaten by Sidney Holland. He regained a seat on Christchurch City Council in a by-election in 1936.[9] He was Mayor of Christchurch from 1938 to 1941, and had continuously represented the Christchurch South since 1939 despite his lengthy absence due to war service.[3]


The election was held on Saturday, 27 May 1944, from 9am to 6pm.[10] For the first time, enrolment had become compulsory, although voting itself was not compulsory (as it remains to this day). There were five separate elections for Christchurch people: mayor (2 candidates), city council (46 candidates for 16 positions), the North Canterbury Hospital Board (27 candidates for 10 positions), and the Lyttelton Harbour Board (9 candidates for 4 positions), and the North Canterbury Catchment Board (newly constituted; 9 candidates for 4 positions).[11][12] The first-past-the-post voting system was used and absentee voting was not allowed for.[11] There were 23 polling booths in Christchurch Central and Richmond, 23 polling booths across Linwood, Woolston, and Mount Pleasant, 26 polling booths across St Albans and Papanui, 31 polling booths across Sydenham and Spreydon, 1 polling booth in Lyttelton, and 6 polling booths in New Brighton; a total of 110 booths. In addition, there were a total of 8 polling booths in Riccarton and Sumner for the North Canterbury Catchment Board election.[13][14]

Andrews had a significant majority, getting 22,765 votes compared to Macfarlane's 13,702. The last time there had been such a clear majority was at the 1925 mayoral election. The turnout for the mayoral election was circa 46.4 percent.[15][16]

Mayoral election results

1944 Christchurch mayoral election[15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Citizens' Ernest Andrews 22,765 62.43 +18.46
Labour Robert Macfarlane 13,702 37.57
Informal votes 287 0.78
Majority 9,063 24.85 +20.99
Turnout 36,754 c. 46.4

Andrews was installed on 7 June 1944 at a ceremony held at the municipal offices in Manchester Street, with councillor Melville Lyons chosen as his deputy.[17]

City councillor election results

In mid-May 1944, the Electors' Association formed itself as a body for independent candidates.[18] The election saw the Labour Party gain just one seat on the city council, with three of their sitting members (John Septimus "Jack" Barnett, Teresa Green, and Harold Denton) defeated. Four councillors for the Citizens' Association were elected for the first time (James Hay, Leslie George Amos, Ron Guthrey, and John Edward Tait).[16]

In the table below the final voting numbers reported as final are shown. The last six placing candidates lost their NZ£3 deposit.[19]

1944 Christchurch local election[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Citizens' James Hay 19,933 61.58
Citizens' Melville Lyons 19,516 60.29 −0.95
Citizens' Ron Guthrey 18,967 58.59
Citizens' Mary McLean 18,656 57.63 +6.38
Citizens' Jim Clarke 17,953 55.46 −3.07
Citizens' Leslie George Amos 17,545 54.20
Citizens' Bill Glue 17,369 53.66 +3.73
Citizens' Reginald Gilbert Brown 17,211 53.17 +0.39
Citizens' Clyde Sheppard 17,027 52.60 +2.43
Citizens' Frank Sturmer Wilding 16,880 52.15 −5.71
Labour George Manning 16,574 51.20 −4.10
Citizens' John Edward Tait 16,464 50.86
Citizens' John James Hurley 16,333 50.46 −1.55
Citizens' Hugh Paterson Donald 16,281 50.29 −0.55
Citizens' Walter Llewellyn King 16,054 49.59
Citizens' George Griffiths 15,973 49.34 +0.59
Labour Jack Barnett 15,957 49.29 −11.37
Citizens' Donald Sinclair Murchison 15,637 48.31
Labour Mabel Howard 15,608 48.22 +1.58
Labour Teresa Green 15,536 47.99 −2.39
Labour Edward Parlane 15,034 46.44
Labour Harold Denton 14,824 45.79 −6.21
Labour Lyn Christie 13,086 40.42
Labour Thomas Nuttall 12,923 39.92 −8.05
Labour Ernest Alan Sharp 12,199 37.68 −6.31
Labour John Edward Jones 12,140 37.50 −7.49
Labour George William Dell 11,973 36.99
Labour James Shankland 11,321 34.97
Labour James William Morgan 11,066 34.18
Labour Tommy Martin 10,479 32.37 −5.10
Labour Frederick Kelso 10,358 32.00 −5.12
Labour Patrick Joseph Kelly 8,761 27.06
Independent William Henry Davies 3,837 11.85
Democratic Labour Gordon Kelly 3,645 11.26
Communist William John Whiting 3,130 9.67
Electors' Association Fred Whiley 2,822 8.71
Democratic Labour David John Upton 2,670 8.24
Electors' Association Robert McKenzie Bailey 2,350 7.26
Electors' Association George Thomas Baker 2,239 6.91
Democratic Labour Henry Maloney 2,032 6.27
Independent Lynwood Hollings 1,941 5.99 −4.48
Electors' Association Vincent Francis Roberts 1,882 5.81
Democratic Labour Trevor Roland Hill 1,825 5.63
Democratic Labour John Ranby Robertson 1,558 4.81
Democratic Labour Morris Sears 1,084 3.34
Electors' Association Ernest Yealands 1,041 3.21


  1. ^ "Mayoral election: Mr Andrews's majority increased to 9063". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24273. 2 June 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Candidate for mayoralty: Mr E. H. Andrews to stand". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24185. 18 February 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Clark, Kath. "Macfarlane, Robert Mafeking". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Labour candidate". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24185. 18 February 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Candidates for mayoralty: three Labour nominees". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24203. 10 March 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Mayoral contest: Mr R. M. Macfarlane the Labour nominee". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24209. 17 March 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  7. ^ a b Scholefield, Guy (1951). Who's Who in New Zealand (5th ed.). Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed. p. 6.
  8. ^ "City mayoralty: Mr E. H. Andrews a candidate". The Press. Vol. LXXVI, no. 23196. 6 December 1940. p. 3. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  9. ^ a b "The Municipal Elections: Mr Macfarlane for Mayoralty". The Press. Vol. LXXIV, no. 22336. 25 February 1938. p. 12. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Public notices". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24266. 25 May 1944. p. 3. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Local body elections: polling to-day". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24268. 27 May 1944. p. 6. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  12. ^ "The municipal elections: record numbers of candidates". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24258. 16 May 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  13. ^ "Christchurch City Council". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24258. 16 May 1944. p. 7. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Christchurch City Council". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24258. 16 May 1944. p. 7. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Mayoral election: Mr Andrews's majority increased to 9,063". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24273. 2 June 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Labour heavily defeated at polls". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24269. 29 May 1944. p. 6. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  17. ^ "City Council's committees: Cr. Lyons again Deputy-Mayor". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24278. 8 June 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  18. ^ "The municipal polls: Electors' Association formed". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24257. 15 May 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  19. ^ "One Labour seat: position on city council: three sitting members defeated". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24269. 29 May 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Christchurch City Council". The Press. Vol. LXXX, no. 24278. 8 June 1944. p. 7. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
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1944 Christchurch mayoral election
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