MILLS, Sir James, K.C.M.G., Kt.
James Mills was born in
In the early seventies James Mills planned to form the Union Steam Ship Co., and a prospectus was drawn up and issued, but sufficient capital could not be raised locally. Consequently in 1874 he made a trip to London and there succeeded in interesting a syndicate which put up the money for building two steamers in Scotland, the Hawea (721 tons) and the Taupo (720 tons). From this modest beginning grew the Union Steam Ship Co., with James Mills as managing director. The first chairman of directors, Sir Geo. McLean, resigned in 1906 and was succeeded by Sir James Mills who carried on the dual position of chairman and managing director till 1913, when he retired from the latter position. He remained chairman of the board until his death.
Mills represented Waikouaiti in the Provincial Council from 1873 until 1875; and he was a member of Parliament for Port Chalmers from 1887 till 1893 when he retired. It would appear that politics were only a secondary interest to him.
In 1907 Mills was appointed by
the Government of New Zealand to represent the Dominion at the Colonial
Merchant Shipping Conference and in that year he received a knighthood; in 1909
he was created K.C.M.G. He was also a Knight of Grace of the Order of
In 1871 Mills married Annabella, daughter of W. Langlands,
Sir James Mills died in
by George Ranald Macdonald, Retired Farmer, Kaiapoi R.D.
Union Line – A Short History of the Union Steam Ship Co. of New Zealand Ltd., 1875–1951, Waters, S. D. (1952)
Otago Daily Times, 24 Jan 1936 (Obit).