Symonds Street Cemetery: Capt William Hobson R.N

William Hobson was the First Governor of New Zealand and the Co-author of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi.


William Hobson was born in Waterford, Ireland. He joined the Royal Navy in 1803 and was promoted to the rank of Commander in 1824.

In 1834 he was given the command of the ship HMS Rattlesnake and ordered to take it to New South Wales in 1836 where he attended the Governor, Sir George Gipps.

In 1837 Gipps recieved a resquest for help from James Busby, the British Resident in the Bay of Islands, where a number of europeans, mostly britons, were living.

New Zealand was nominally, but not formally, part of the Colony of New South Wales at this time. Gipps sent Hobson to investigate the situation.

Hobson submitted a Report to the British Government advising that New Zealand should be annexed as a colony.

This resulted in Hobson's eventual appointment as Governor of New Zealand and the founding by him of the City of Auckland as the Colony's new Capital in 1840.

Hobson set aside this land for use as a cemetery in 1842. Ironically he was one of the first people to be buried here.

He is also the only Governor or Governor-General to be buried in New Zealand until Sir Keith Holyoake (1904-1983).

Hobson's Grave is now the centrepiece of the General Anglican Memorial which was created in the 1960s when the motorway system was constructed.

The New Zealand Royal Navy looks after Hobson's Grave; a commemorative service is held at the grave each year.