1.3 Leadership role models
Thomson Wilson Leys was one of those leaders who achieve their goals. He was born at Snenton , near Nottingham in Nottinghamshire, England, on 23 April 1850, the son of Hannah Hartley Wilson and her husband, William Leys, a supervisor of inland revenue. Thomson was educated at the People's College, Nottingham. In 1862 his father became involved in the Albertland scheme to found a nonconformist settlement in New Zealand. Subsequently, William and Hannah and their three sons arrived at Auckland on 4 September 1863 aboard the Tyburnia. However, they did not accompany the other settlers north to Port Albert, deciding instead to settle in Auckland.
Thomson Leys was apprenticed as a compositor on the Daily Southern Cross newspaper. A few years later he transferred to the reporting staff, and in 1870 was appointed sub-editor. Ill health led to his resignation, but after a period as a free-lance writer he returned to his chosen career in journalism. In 1872 he became sub-editor of the Evening Star. He was also the New Zealand representative for Reuter's Telegram Company and for the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
Vision - A man of wide interests, Thomson Leys was involved in many civic and community affairs, particularly those relating to education. His outstanding contribution in this field was the establishment of the Leys Institute; a project initiated by a bequest from his brother, William, and generously endowed by Leys himself. Thomson leys vision was to promote learning and independence in a non-sectarian environment for the youth of Auckland. As president and trustee Thomson Leys was the driving force behind the institute for 20 years.
The vision for the nation should be based on strong pillars of development. At both a local and national level Leys helped to foster the growth of libraries throughout New Zealand, especially in city schools. He was a member and for some time the president of the library committee of the Auckland City Council, and in March 1910 was elected president of the Libraries Association of New Zealand at the association's inaugural conference in Dunedin.
Mission - Under Leys's enterprising leadership the Star expanded in size and steadily increased its circulation. By 1900 it had the largest circulation of any paper in New Zealand. Leys were an ardent liberal and friend of leading Liberal politicians, and a supporter of George Grey. In 1892 Liberal premier John Balance offered him a seat on the Legislative Council, as did Richard Seddon at a later date. He declined both offers, preferring to exert his huge influence on politics through his journalism. He represented a syndicate of New Zealand newspapers at conventions in Australia on proposals for federation of the Australian colonies, and possibly New Zealand, and in 1900–1901 was present as an official member of the Royal Commission on Federation. He also gave many years of service to the Auckland…