Wellington Provincial Government
Between 1853 and 1876 New Zealand had a federal system of government. The central government existed alongside a varying number of provincial governments covering the whole country. Each province had a Provincial Council which was responsible for matters like education, public works, immigration and police within its own area. Wellington Province was one of the original six created in 1853, along with Auckland, New Plymouth (later Taranaki), Nelson, Canterbury and Otago. In 1858 the Hawkes Bay split from Wellington to form their own Province. In 1875 the government passed an act to disband the provinces in the North Island. This was then expanded to cover the whole country and the provincial governments were abolished on 31 October 1876. A system of 63 County Councils, with much reduced responsibilities and powers, were set up in place of the provinces. In the case of Wellington Province the counties that fall within the current boundaries of the Horizons region include Manawatu County, Rangitikei County, Wanganui County, part of Waipawa County and part of Wairarapa North County. All archives of the Provincial Government are held with Archives NZ.