The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852, passed by the British government, allowed New Zealand to establish a representative government. The initial 24 New Zealand electorates were defined by Governor George Grey in March 1853. Southern Division was one of the initial two-member electorates.
Southern Division was a large electorate south of Auckland, extending to the southern boundary of the province and encompassing the Waikato, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and East Cape. It bordered onto the Taranaki electorate Grey and Bell, and the 39th parallel south formed the boundary with the Wellington Province, where all land immediately south of this land was not incorporated into any electorate until 1858. When this unincorporated land was assigned to electorates that year, Southern Division had County of Hawke and Wanganui and Rangitikei as additional southern neighbours.
In the 1860 electoral redistribution, the House of Representatives increased the number of representatives by 12, reflecting the immense population growth since the original electorates were established in 1853. The redistribution created 15 additional electorates with between one and three members. The Southern Division electorate was abolished, and its area split for two new electorates, Franklin (two members) and Raglan (one member).
The nomination meeting for the 1853 election was held in Onehunga immediately after the nomination meeting for the Pensioner Settlements electorate had finished. Three candidates were nominated, and the show of hands was declared to be in favour of Major Gray and Captain Powditch. Charles John Taylor demanded a poll, which was held one week later on Tuesday, 23 August 1853. Taylor received the highest number of votes, Gray came a close second, and Powditch as the third placed candidate was not elected.
|1853 election||John Gray||Charles Taylor|
|1855 election||Robert Graham|
|1858 by-election||Theodore Haultain|
|(Electorate abolished in 1860, see Franklin and Raglan)|
|Independent||Charles John Taylor||210||38.75|