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Frederick Joseph Moss

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  • am_sydney
    Hello all, I found this interesting entry from An Encylopaedia of New Zealand: 1966 ... Regards, Andrew
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2007
      Hello all,

      I found this interesting entry from 'An Encylopaedia of New Zealand:
      1966'... Regards, Andrew


      Frederick Joseph Moss was born in 1827 at Longwood, St. Helena, where
      his father was in business. His mother was Sarah, née Britton. He was
      educated at St. Helena Grammar School and, in 1840, went to Algoa Bay,
      South Africa, where he entered his uncle's business. During the Kaffir
      War he served as volunteer with the Cape Burghers and took part in
      several campaigns against the Zulus. He returned to St. Helena in 1847
      to assist in his father's office. In 1857 he revisited South Africa,
      intending to settle in Natal; however, because he found the district
      plagued by locusts, he decided to emigrate to New Zealand. Arriving at
      Lyttelton in the Zealandia in 1859, Moss opened a mercantile business
      there; but when the Otago goldfields were proclaimed he transferred
      his interests to Dunedin, where he entered into partnership with
      Thomas Dick and became a director of several companies and financial
      institutions. In addition to his other interests he founded the Otago
      Daily Mail (1864) and entered provincial politics. From 1863 until
      1867 he represented Dunedin City on the Provincial Council and acted
      as Provincial Treasurer on three occasions. In 1866, when the
      executive was defeated by Vogel, he was able to provide his successor
      with complete plans for the progressive construction and systematic
      financing of the Otago railways. Moss retired from the Council in
      January 1867 and, in the following year, joined the "cotton rush" to
      Fiji. He settled near Bau Levu' where he remained until the
      Franco-Prussian War depreciated the market for sea-island cotton. In
      1869 Moss returned to New Zealand and lived at Parnell, where he
      accepted a temporary position with the Auckland Provincial Treasury;
      however, he soon relinquished this in order to become the first
      secretary of the Auckland Board of Education. On 20 February 1878 he
      was returned to represent Parnell in the House of Representatives.
      During his period in Parliament Moss travelled widely among the
      Pacific islands and, in 1888, was a member of the Royal Commission
      which investigated the feasibility of Vogel's confederation and
      annexation scheme. He retired from Parliament in 1890 when the
      Secretary of State for the Colonies appointed him first British
      Resident in Rarotonga.

      After the Cook Islands were annexed, the British Government attempted
      to establish native government over the group. As British Resident,
      Moss was given the task of introducing the new institutions and of
      ensuring that they functioned smoothly. Moss believed that the reason
      why native races tend to become demoralised after their contact with
      advanced European civilisations arose from the fact that the new
      governing classes, the European civil servants, were not disposed to
      treat them as equals. As European settlers became more numerous, a
      small élite society developed in which the natives were forced to
      associate more and more with the less desirable elements of the white
      population. As a consequence they became discouraged when they saw
      themselves gradually losing their former power and prestige. Moss
      therefore encouraged the islanders to participate in his Government
      and, before the end of his term, had established federal and island
      governments, courts, schools, and hospitals. In seven years he
      succeeded in breaking down many traditional tribal jealousies and in
      persuading the islanders to abandon some of their worst customs. With
      the exception of the Postmaster and Auditor, all Government officials
      and Judges were islanders whom Moss had trained personally for their
      jobs. During Moss's last years at Rarotonga, his Government incurred
      the enmity of the small European colony there. These worries caused
      his health to fail and led to his recall in September 1898. During the
      latter decades of the nineteenth century F. J. Moss was a very
      influential figure in the South Pacific and his advice was often
      sought by New Zealand and British governments of the day. He was a
      prolific pamphleteer on political subjects and also wrote several
      books. These include A School History of New Zealand (1889), Through
      Atolls and Islands in the Great South Sea (1889); and Notes on
      Political Economy from the Colonial Point of View, which appeared
      anonymously in 1897. A Maori scholar of note, he was the author of
      Native Lands and Their Incidents (1888) and Beautiful Shells of New
      Zealand (1908).

      In 1853, at St. Helena, Moss married Emily Ann, the only daughter of
      Captain Carew. He died at Parnell, Auckland, on 8 July 1904. One of
      his sons, Edward George Britton Moss (1856–1916), was a goldfields
      lawyer and represented Ohinemuri in Parliament (1902–05).
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