Judge Conolly


Lawyer Edward Tennyson Conolly came to New Zealand from Middlesex, England in 1865, and settled in Picton, becoming one of the town’s leading personages. 

Conolly.jpgEdward Tennyson Conolly. Alexander Turnbull Library
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He was Picton’s first Resident Magistrate and, within two years, he represented Picton on the Marlborough Provincial Council.  During his days in law practice in Picton he was Prosecuting Counsel in the notorious murder trial of William Henry Woodgate, at which Woodgate was found guilty and sentenced to hang.  Conolly however was one of those who signed an unsuccessful petition for clemency.

E.T. Conolly entered Parliament in 1881.  He was Minister of Justice for the Whitaker government and also Attorney General in the Atkinson Ministry during the 1880's, and represented Picton until 1887, when he retired from political life. He moved to Auckland when called to be a Judge of the Supreme Court in 1889 and retired in 1903, aged 81.  

Mr Justice Conolly died in 1908 in Auckland.  His son, John Conolly, was also a notable local lawyer.

This story is adapted from one written by Loreen Brehaut for The Seaport News, 2011

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Further sources - Judge Conolly


  • Cooke, R. (Ed) (1969)  Portrait of a profession. Ed. R. Cooke. Wellington: New Zealand Law Society 
  • Wilson, J. (1985) New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840-1984. (4th Ed) Wellington: New Zealand Govt. Printer [held Nelson Public Libraries]



  • Picton Museum holds Judge Conolly's wig and wig case, and also his carved walking-stick which bears images of his wife and himself on the handle.

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