Funeral for New Zealand’s “King Dick” in 1906

Though sometimes a pejorative, the moniker “King Dick” was well-earned by Richard Seddon given that he was, and still is, the longest tenured head of government in New Zealand. From 1893 to his death in 1906, he served as the 15th Prime Minister under both Queen Victoria and King Edward.

Funeral of Richard 'King Dick' Seddon, 21 June 1906
Funeral of Richard ‘King Dick’ Seddon, 21 June 1906

Source: Archives New Zealand

Below is the description from the source.

On 10 June 1906, New Zealand’s longest-serving and most famous leader, Richard ‘King Dick’ Seddon, died on board the Oswestry Grange while returning from a visit to Australia. One of his last political pronouncements was a telegram to the Victorian premier, Thomas Bent, on the eve of his departure: ‘Just leaving for God’s own country’.

News of Seddon’s death provoked numerous public gestures of grief, including black bordered displays in shop windows and several public monuments. Seddon’s funeral itself was a massive public event. Held in Wellington on 21 June 1906, Seddon’s funeral cortege attracted thousands of mourners, as this image shows. The casket itself was carried on a gun carriage through Wellington city to Old Saint Paul’s Church, where the funeral service was held before moving on to Bolton Street Cemetery.

This image of the funeral procession comes from the photographic collection of Leslie Hinge.