Topic: Harry Delamere Dansey, Snr.

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Brief biography

Rotorua Mayor 1941 to 1942

A descendant of Roger Delamere Dansey [Rotorua Postmaster] and Wikitoria Ngamihi Kahuao Dansey one of the earliest Maori families to settle in Rotorua. Harry was the first Rotorua born Mayor, born in 1874. He was one of the first pupils of Rotorua Primary. He trained as a civil engineer at Canterbury University and for 18 years he was in charge of the construction branch of the railways.   He may well have been the first qualified Maori engineer.  He was responsible for the Dunedin Railway Station. Later he went overseas for 2 years to further his experience and served on the engineering staff in an honorary capacity on the construction of one of London's tube railways. He then served for 4 years in the army in WWI during which he was seconded from the NZ Division and attached to the Army Corps headquarters to control within the corps area and the battle zone, the Messines Railway construction and organised transport for supplies and guns in this sector and evacuation of the wounded. In the final stages of the war he was in charge of all bridge construction.       After the war Mr Dansey resumed consulting work for Mr J H Gavey of London. He then chose to retire to Rotorua in 1930s and played a prominent part in community affairs being elected Chief Magistrate and Mayor.

Mr Dansey did not enjoy the best of health, and passed away while in office in 1942. Source : Don Stafford File, Rotorua Biographies.

Mentioned in Dispatches (MID): Lieutenant, NZ Pioneer (Maori) Battalion. "For consistent good work and devotion to duty during the period 28th August/2nd October 1916. This officer's talent for making men work and keeping them going under adverse circumstances have been responsible for the great work done by his Company. His knowledge of surveying and his capacity for hard work have rendered him most useful to his Battalion" Excerpt from the Cenotaph Database.

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Harry Delamere Dansey, Snr.


First Names:Harry Delamere
Last Name:Dansey
City:Rotorua