William Henry Skinner

Date of birth / Date established
26 Feb 1857
Date of death / Date closed
24 Oct 1946
Place of birth / Place established
Place of death / Place closed
Person/Corporate type
Born in New Plymouth on 26 February, 1857, William Skinner resided for most of his life in Taranaki. He was educated locally before becoming an indentured cadet in the Lands Office, Taranaki Provincial Government in July 1872. He became an assistant surveyor in 1876 and gained extensive field experience in Taranaki before joining the office staff in 1888 and rising to chief draughtsman and Commissioner of Crown Lands. In 1911 he went as Commissioner to Marlborough and then in 1914 to Hawkes Bay, followed by Canterbury in 1916.
He retired in 1919 to New Plymouth to help Stephenson Percy Smith in the work of the Polynesian Society (founded 1892) and he edited its journal 1922 - 25. He was president of the society 1925 - 29.
Skinner was also co-founder of the Taranaki Scenery Preservation Society and author of Reminiscences of a Taranaki Surveyor. Skinner was principal benefactor of the Taranaki Museum and was prominent in the town's affairs. Skinner died in New Plymouth 24 October 1946.


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