Nathaniel Levin

Nathaniel William Levin (4 May 1818 – 30 April 1903) was a merchant and politician in New Zealand.

Wellington, New Zealand

Levin, born in 1818 in London, England, came to the new settlement of Wellington in 1841 and set himself up in business selling drapery hosiery and haberdashery on Lambton Quay in partnership with Abraham Hort junior who would become his brother-in-law.[1]

Levin & Co

The business soon moved to importing food and liquor and exporting whale oil and whale bone and gradually established itself as a shipping and land agency. Sheepfarming grew as whaling declined and wool exports replaced the whaling products. In 1862 he went into partnership with Charles Johnson Pharazyn. By 1868 Levin was depressed by the stagnation of the business of the colony and decided to arrange his affairs so he might return to England. He ended his partnership with Pharazyn and the business activities were taken over by his eldest son W H Levin in partnership with Charles Pharazyn and Walter Woods Johnston. At the end of 1869 he and his wife left for England.[1]

Redfern Alexander & Co

He became a partner in the firm of his former London agents for 12 years, retired in 1882 in his mid-60s and died in 1903, his wife Jessie the following year.[1]


Nathaniel Levin was the first Jew to be appointed to the New Zealand Legislative Council.[1] He served from 25 June 1869 until his membership lapsed on 11 January 1871;[2] he had returned to England at the end of 1869.[1] In the Legislative Council, he distinguished himself by never having made a speech.[3]

His son William Levin continued his trading company in Wellington.[4]

See also

History of the Jews in New Zealand


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Nicholls, Roberta. "Levin, Nathaniel William - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  2. Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. p. 79.
  3. Jackson, William Keith (1972). The New Zealand Legislative Council : a study of the establishment, failure and abolition of an upper house. Dunedin: University of Otago Press. p. 40.
  4. Galt, M. N. "Levin, William Hort - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
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