Dr. Isaac Earl Featherston

Worth, H.V.
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Isaac Earl Featherston came to New Zealand in May 1841 as surgeon superintendent on board the Olympus. He practised medicine in Wellington in the 1840’s, as well as becoming involved in community activities and associations. In 1845, he became the first editor of the Wellington Independent.

Featherston was shocked at the mud and wood huts he saw when he first arrived in Wellington and at the lack of fertile land, as promised by the New Zealand Company. He turned against the Company, having invested his own money in land and finding he had a piece of useless swamp, and fought to secure compensation for the land purchasers. He was extremely antagonistic towards all the Wakefields, probably because of their ‘sales’ talk and land policies, to the point where he fought a duel with William Wakefield.

He also criticised Governor George Grey’s constitutional proposals. He believed in maximum possible devolution of functions and powers to the provincial councils and was the first superintendent of Wellington Province. From 1853 until 1870 he was superintendent for Wellington Province as well as a member of the House of Representatives.

Featherston played a major role in relations between Maori and Pakeha, in land and other negotiations and during the war of 1865-66. As a result, he was awarded the New Zealand Cross for bravery but also honoured by having the Wairarapa town of Featherston named after him and Featherston Street.

He was a complex and forceful character but regarded with a lot of affection by many.
oil on canvas
hxw 850 x 750 mm.
Breadth c 140mm x 65mm deep
Framed: 855 x 750 x100 approx
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