About the author:
William Pember Reeves (10 February 1857 – 16 May 1932) was a New Zealand politician, historian and poet who promoted social reform.
Reeves three times declined offers of a knighthood.
In January 1896 Reeves left New Zealand for London, where he was Agent General (1896–1905) and High Commissioner (1905–08). While he was in Britain Reeves became a friend of a number of left-wing intellectuals, such as George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb, all leading members of the Fabian Society. He was also a member of the Coefficients dining club of social reformers.
Reeves became Director of the London School of Economics (1908–19) and President of the Anglo-Hellenic League (1913–25). He also headed the committee organising the First Universal Races Congress in London in 1911. Finally, he was chairman of the board of the National Bank of New Zealand from 1917 to 31.
Reeves represented the Christchurch electorate of St Albans in Parliament from 1887 to 1890, and then Christchurch from 1890 to 1896, when he resigned to take up the post of Agent General. During the premierships of John Ballance (1891–93) and Richard Seddon (1893–1906) he served as Minister of Labour (1892–96), Minister of Education (1891–96), Minister of Justice (1891–92, 1893, 1895–96) and Commissioner of Stamp Duties (1892–96). As Minister of Labour he introduced the Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1894 and the Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Bill, which, if it had been passed, would have barred poor and Asian immigrants from the country. His opposition to the entry of those he considered “undesirable” immigrants earned him the nickname “Undesirable Bill” Reeves.
A very detailed biography on The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.