Search the Collection
William Ferguson Massey (1856-1925), Prime Minister of New Zealand; plenipotentiary at the 1919 Peace Conference
Sitter in 10 portraits
After emigrating to New Zealand from Ireland in 1870, Massey farmed near Auckland and assumed leadership in farmers' organisations. In 1891, a conservative political party, the National Association, was formed; the name was changed to the Reform Party in 1909. Massey became Vice-President of the Auckland branch of the party. He entered Parliament in 1894, becoming Prime Minister in 1912. Massey travelled to London and participated in the Imperial War Cabinet (1917-18). He signed the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, making New Zealand a founding member of the League of Nations. He opposed separate sovereign status for dominions within the British Commonwealth.