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4.1.3 Pre-1854 Ordinances

Prior to 1854 a number of different domestic legislative bodies operated in New Zealand. The Legislative Council operated from 1841 until 1853 when it was replaced by the General Assembly. In addition, between 1848 and 1853 there were two provincial legislative councils: the New Ulster Legislative Council (with jurisdiction over the North Island, excluding Wellington); and the New Munster Legislative Council (with jurisdiction over Wellington, the South Island and Stewart Island). All three bodies passed Ordinances rather than Acts, although the New Ulster Legislative Council did not pass any Ordinances during its lifetime.

The format for citing these Ordinances is as follows:



Year enacted

Regnal year

Ordinance number

Pinpoint reference


Distillation Prohibition Ordinance


4 Vict


, cl 1

Scab Ordinance of New Munster


13 Vict








Eg Distillation Prohibition Ordinance 1841 4 Vict 5, cl 1.

Eg Scab Ordinance of New Munster 1849 13 Vict 4.

(a) Title

Give the title in accordance with rule 4.1.1(a). Note that because Ordinances were not given official short titles, the unofficial short title used in the contents page of the official reprints should be used.

Eg Supreme Court Practitioners Ordinance 1853 16 Vict 5.

NOT An Ordinance to provide for admission of Barristers, Attorneys, and Proctors, to practise in the Supreme Court other than those admissible under “The Supreme Court Ordinance”, Session III, No 1 1853 16 Vict 5.

When citing provincial Ordinances, note the fact that the Ordinance is a provincial one. Accordingly, refer to a New Munster Ordinance as “Ordinance of New Munster”.

Eg Scab Ordinance of New Munster 1849 13 Vict 4.

(b) Year enacted

Include the year the Ordinance was enacted after the title.

(c) Regnal year

Give the regnal year after the year of enactment. The regnal year gives the year in which the Ordinance was created in terms of the reign of the monarch. For example, the regnal year “3 Vict” indicates that the Ordinance was created in the third year of the reign of Queen Victoria. As Queen Victoria reigned throughout the period during which Ordinances applicable to New Zealand were created, the regnal year will always be in terms of “Vict”.

For a list of regnal years, see Appendix 5.

(d) Ordinance number

The regnal year is followed by the Ordinance number.

(e) Pinpoint reference

If a pinpoint reference is needed, this may be given after the Ordinance number and preceded by a comma.

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