There was never any love lost between the Herald and the Premier Richard "King Dick" Seddon, leader of the reforming Liberal Government from 1893 to 1906.
And yet the Herald would have chosen him as New Zealander of the Year in 1897, not so much for his policies - with which it profoundly disagreed - but for the way he represented what he liked to call "God's own country" at Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee celebrations in Britain.
"He correctly accentuated the loyal feeling of the colony, and also showed that he was keenly alive to every opportunity of advancing its material interests upon which its progress and prosperity so largely depend," said the paper and urged its readers to put party considerations aside and give him a warm welcome on his return.
"Mr Seddon was able while in England to do considerable service to the colony, and to see much which we have no doubt will improve his administration."
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The Liberals, first under John Ballance and then Seddon, led the first of New Zealand's great reforming governments and earned the country a well-deserved reputation as the social laboratory of the world.
They laid the foundations of the welfare state with land reforms, laws to improve employment conditions, old age pensions and the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to deal with industrial disputes.
These changes had enormous influence on the social, economic and political structure of the country for generations to come.
Biography of Richard Seddon, Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand