William E Goffe

Date of birth
Date of death
08 Aug 1940
William E Goffe (born at Paihia in 1863) claimed descent from the General Goffe who, with his son-in-law (Whatley) signed King Charles I's death warrant. He became an interpreter in Parliament, and, then, a lands purchase officer in the Native Lands Department at, in turn, Wellington, Wanganui and Gisborne.

He was educated at Bishop's College and Grammar School, Auckland. A prominent athlete in his youth who excelled at boxing and running.

His father was Mr L E Goffe who came to New Zealand and established the firm of L. C. Goffe and company, which traded extensively with America when the Kauri Gum trade was booming. Mr W E Goffe's mother, Miss Edmonds was a daughter of one of the pioneer missionaries.

Mr W E Goffe joined his father's firm when he was 17 and through his private and business connections gained extensive knowledge of Maori and Maori custom. This led to his employment as a Government agent in dealings with iwi in the north. During the early eighties he was associated with the late Mr James Clendon, resident magistrate, in quelling serous disturbances in a district where Maori factions had clashed with much bloodshed on two occasions. He became a Justice of the Peace at a young age , and was elected to the Bay of Islands Licensing committee for several successive terms, prior to taking up residence in Wellington.
His removal to Wellington was a consequence of his appointment as the first permanent interpreter and translator to the House of Representatives, and in 1894 appointed land purchase officer of the Native Department. He helped complete the purchase of Urewera lands.

Mrs Goffe is a granddaughter of John King who arrived in New Zealand with Samuel Marsden in 1814. She traces her descent from King Edward III, through Admiral Collingwood. Mr and Mrs Goffe were the first husband and wife in New Zealand to hold appointments as Justices of the Peace, and, on several occasions, sat on the Bench together. Mr Goffe amassed a fine range of Maori curos. He died on 8 August, 1940. (retrieved 22.08.2017 from: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-MacHist-t1-body-d42.html#name-401142-mention)


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