Our History

Previous Mayors

The past leaders of our community are honoured and remembered in a photographic display adorning the walls of the Council Chamber at 101 Guyton Street.

Included are Chairmen of the Wanganui Town Board, Mayors of the Borough of Wanganui, Mayors of Wanganui City and Mayors of Wanganui/Whanganui District. 

Chairmen of the Wanganui Town Board

John Handley


William Kells


George Bevan


Francis Williamson


Mayors of the Borough of Wanganui

William Hogg Watt

February 1872–September 1873
December 1875–December 1878
December 1880–December 1881

William Hutchison

September 1873–February 1874

Robert Pharazyn

March 1874–September 1874

Edward Churton

September 1874–November 1875

Thomas Muir Bamber

December 1878–December 1880

Gilbert Carson

December 1881–December 1884

Frederick Maurice Spurdle

December 1884–December 1886

James Keith Laird

December 1886–December 1888

Alfred John Parsons

December 1888–December 1890
December 1891–December 1892

Henry Nathan

December 1890–December 1891

Freeman Rayney Jackson

December 1892–December 1896

James Lockhart Stevenson

December 1896–December 1897

Alexander Hatrick

December 1897–December 1904

Arthur Gorbell Bignell

February 1904–30 April 1906

Charles Evan Mackay

May 1906–February 1912
May 1912–May 1913
May 1915–May 1920

Edward Nolloth Liffiton

February 1912–April 1912

Thomas Boswall Williams

May 1913–May 1915
May 1920–March 1924

Mayors of Wanganui City

Hopeful Gibbons

March 1924–May 1927

William James Rogers

May 1927–May 1931
May 1935–October 1953

Norman Graham Armstrong

May 1931–May 1935

Edward Alan Millward

November 1953–October 1962

Reginald Percival Andrews

October 1962–October 1974

Ronald George Russell

October 1974–October 1983

Douglas George Turney

October 1983–October 1986

Charles Ernest Poynter

October 1986–October 1989

Mayors of Wanganui District

Charles Ernest Poynter

November 1989–October 2004

Michael Brian Laws

October 2004–October 2010

Mayor of Whanganui District

Annette Kay Main

 October 2010–October 2016

Hamish Crichton McDouall

 October 2016-October 2022

Our Coat of Arms

Crest - colour  

The Coat of Arms was granted to the then Wanganui City Council, not Whanganui District Council. A number of councils throughout New Zealand are in a situation where the grant was originally made to an organisation other than the current controlling authority. To rectify this situation a royal warrant is required. However, for convenience the rights have been allowed to be assumed by Whanganui District Council. As they are then no longer truly the “Wanganui City Coat of Arms” they should more properly be known as the “Memorial Bearings of the Whanganui District”.

Given to the City in 1955, the Coat of Arms includes part of the Arms of Lord Petre, an important officer of the New Zealand Company, after whom the City was first named Petre, and part of the Arms of William Hogg Watt, the first Mayor.

The Coat of Arms was presented to the "City of Wanganui" by Dr Morris Watt. Here is a brief explanation of the meaning of the symbols that appear on the Coat of Arms:

Rutland Stockade
The Rutland Stockade is a reminder that Whanganui was a garrison town from 1846 to 1870, the period during which the British Regiments were stationed in Whanganui. 

Ram's Head
The ram's head denotes the pastoral industry, a source of wealth to the District.

The books represent Whanganui's reputation as a cultural and educational city.

Silver Shells
The silver shells, denoting a pilgrimage, were taken from Lord Petre's Coat of Arms, and here mark the long voyage the early settlers took in 1841 from England, to found Whanganui.

Broad Silver Band
The broad silver wavy band represents the Whanganui River, the pathway used over the centuries by Māori, and later by Pākehā, to the centre of the North Island.

Gold Bands
The gold band on each side of the silver band represent the wealth created by the many industries centred on Whanganui.

The Three Ships
The three ships come from the Coat of Arms of William Hogg Watt, the first Mayor, and represent the fleet of ships of Taylor and Watt, which opened up trade from Whanganui to the outside world.

The supporter on the left-hand side is the lion from the Petre Coat of Arms, with the addition of the four stars of the Southern Cross.

The support on the right-hand side is New Zealand's native tuatara, and recognises the City's strong links with local Māori.

The motto is "Sans Dieu Rien" (Without God Nothing) and was the motto of Lord Petre.