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Historic Mugshots of People from the New Zealand Police Department in the Late 19th Century

A mug shot is a photograph of an arrested suspect or convicted criminal. The police have used them to create identification records since the middle of the 19th Century. However, they are much more than bureaucratic documents. Mug shots are captivating images that can capture emotions. Possibly this is due to the interesting questions they raise: What crime did this person commit? Were they guilty? Do they look like a criminal? How do they look? How did they get there?

These late 19th Century mugshots from New Zealand Police Museum answer some of the above questions and tell stories behind these photographs. These mug shots also give us a rich window into the New Zealand Police’s history, the people in the images, and what criminal identification means in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Police Force was officially established on September 1, 1886, and they began collecting photographs of prisoners that same year. The first pictures look very different from modern mug shots. This was primarily due to the lack of officially trained police photographers in New Zealand. Instead, the police used commercial photographers and amateur camera enthusiasts to take the mug shots. As a result, the style of early mug shots in the New Zealand Police Museum collection varies significantly from one photograph to the next. A common feature of mug shots is the display of criminals’ hands. Fingers missing, scarring, and the general shape and condition of the prisoners’ hands can all aid in identifying a suspect. Having hands in mug shots provided another way for police to identify suspects in 1886, before fingerprinting was introduced.

#1 Ah Chop (b. 1854, China). Charged with attempted larceny and sentenced to 2 years in gaol on April 9, 1889 (Invercargill).

Ah Chop (b. 1854, China). Charged with attempted larceny and sentenced to 2 years in gaol on April 9, 1889 (Invercargill).

A miner by trade, he is described as being a pagan by religion with a sallow complexion. Photograph taken on June 15, 1889.

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#2 Alex Haddlestone alias Fiddlestone/Thomas Edwards/Edmunds/Allan (b. 1861, New Zealand). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 18 months in gaol on October 24, 1886 (Blenheim).

Alex Haddlestone alias Fiddlestone/Thomas Edwards/Edmunds/Allan (b. 1861, New Zealand). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 18 months in gaol on October 24, 1886 (Blenheim).

Previous charges for larceny and false pretences. Photograph taken on August 18, 1886.

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#3 Alfred Hyde (b. 1836, Denmark). Charged with forgery & uttering and sentenced to 3 years in gaol on January 7, 1886 (Auckland).

Alfred Hyde (b. 1836, Denmark). Charged with forgery & uttering and sentenced to 3 years in gaol on January 7, 1886 (Auckland).

A draughtsman by trade. Photograph taken on April 13, 1886.

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#4 Alfred Langley (b. 1837, England). Charged with illegal gaming and sentenced to 1 month in gaol on March 20, 1889 (Christchurch).

Alfred Langley (b. 1837, England). Charged with illegal gaming and sentenced to 1 month in gaol on March 20, 1889 (Christchurch).

Described as having a mole on his left knee. Photograph taken on April 19, 1887.

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#5 Alick Evan McGregor (b. 1869, India). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 1 month in gaol on April 15, 1887 (Hastings).

Alick Evan McGregor (b. 1869, India). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 1 month in gaol on April 15, 1887 (Hastings).

Describe as a “notorious young thief” with a “freckled face.” Photograph taken on May 5, 1887.

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#6 Amy Bock alias Laing (b. 1861, Victoria). Charged with false pretences and sentenced to 1 months in gaol on April 30, 1886 (Christchurch).

Amy Bock alias Laing (b. 1861, Victoria). Charged with false pretences and sentenced to 1 months in gaol on April 30, 1886 (Christchurch).

A teacher by trade, she is described as a “swindler” with a “superior” education. Photograph taken on May 28, 1886.

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#7 Andrew Dawson (b. 1865, New Zealand). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 6 months in gaol on March 29, 1888 (Napier).

Andrew Dawson (b. 1865, New Zealand). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 6 months in gaol on March 29, 1888 (Napier).

Described as “a race-course spieler convicted of picking pockets in an auction mart with Michael Walsh.” Photograph taken on August 14, 1888.

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#8 Andrew Munro alias Richard/Richards (b. 1839, USA). Charged with traveling by steamer without paying his fare and sentenced to 1 month in gaol on January 30, 1886 (Auckland). Photograph taken on February 22, 1886.

Andrew Munro alias Richard/Richards (b. 1839, USA). Charged with traveling by steamer without paying his fare and sentenced to 1 month in gaol on January 30, 1886 (Auckland). Photograph taken on February 22, 1886.

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#9 Aporo Paerata (b. 1855, Gisborne, NZ). Charged with murder and sentenced to death on June 13, 1887 (Gisborne).

Aporo Paerata (b. 1855, Gisborne, NZ). Charged with murder and sentenced to death on June 13, 1887 (Gisborne).

This sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment on August 3, 1887. Photograph taken on September 1, 1888.

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#10 Arthur Dawson (b. 1853, England). Charged with unlawfully wounding and sentenced to 6 months in gaol on January 5, 1886 (Auckland).

Arthur Dawson (b. 1853, England). Charged with unlawfully wounding and sentenced to 6 months in gaol on January 5, 1886 (Auckland).

A wood carver by trade. Photograph taken on June 12, 1886.

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#11 Arthur Morton (b. 1857, USA). Charged with false pretenses and sentenced to 4 months in gaol on February 20, 1886 (Auckland).

Arthur Morton (b. 1857, USA). Charged with false pretenses and sentenced to 4 months in gaol on February 20, 1886 (Auckland).

He is described as a widower who was employed as a journalist before being arrested. Large scar under his chin. Photograph taken on June 12, 1886.

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#12 Arthur Robert Howard (b. 1850, Scotland). Charged with attempting to obtain money by false pretenses and sentenced to 2 years in gaol on April 5, 1886 (Christchurch).

Arthur Robert Howard (b. 1850, Scotland). Charged with attempting to obtain money by false pretenses and sentenced to 2 years in gaol on April 5, 1886 (Christchurch).

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#13 Bernard Herman (b. 1836, Ireland). Charged with embezzlement and sentenced to 6 months on February 21, 1889 (Christchurch). Described as having scars on his right leg and his back, and a deformed right little finger.

Bernard Herman (b. 1836, Ireland). Charged with embezzlement and sentenced to 6 months on February 21, 1889 (Christchurch). Described as having scars on his right leg and his back, and a deformed right little finger.

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#14 Charles Cardiff Flanigan (b. 1845, Ireland). Charged with breaking & entering and sentenced to 9 months on October 9, 1885 (Auckland). Described as having a bullet wound his lower right arm, 1886

Charles Cardiff Flanigan (b. 1845, Ireland). Charged with breaking & entering and sentenced to 9 months on October 9, 1885 (Auckland). Described as having a bullet wound his lower right arm, 1886

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#15 Charles Fowler (b. 1851, England). Charged with housebreaking and sentenced to 5 years on October 6, 1888 (Dunedin). A cook by trade. Described as having no middle finger on his right hand and missing front teeth, 1888

Charles Fowler (b. 1851, England). Charged with housebreaking and sentenced to 5 years on October 6, 1888 (Dunedin). A cook by trade. Described as having no middle finger on his right hand and missing front teeth, 1888

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#16 Charles Johnson (b. 1863, Germany). Charged with breaking & entering and sentenced to 4 months in gaol on January 4, 1887. Previous charged for being illegally on board a yacht, 1887

Charles Johnson (b. 1863, Germany). Charged with breaking & entering and sentenced to 4 months in gaol on January 4, 1887. Previous charged for being illegally on board a yacht, 1887

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#17 Charles Le Fobel, alias Le Fauvre/Fable/Foubel/French Charley (b. 1834, France). Charged with vagrancy and sentenced to 1 month in gaol on March 24, 1887 (Woodville).

Charles Le Fobel, alias Le Fauvre/Fable/Foubel/French Charley (b. 1834, France). Charged with vagrancy and sentenced to 1 month in gaol on March 24, 1887 (Woodville).

A cook by trade, described as having a sailor, flag, anchor and female tattooed on his right arm, and four flags, a star and a shield on his left arm. He also has two bullet wounds on his right thigh, and previous convictions for vagrancy, larceny and sheep stealing. Photograph taken on April 6, 1887.

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#18 Charles Stevens (b. 1861, Ireland). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 6 weeks on March 7, 1887 (Woodside). Described as a traveler, with his left hand contracted, 1887

Charles Stevens (b. 1861, Ireland). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 6 weeks on March 7, 1887 (Woodside). Described as a traveler, with his left hand contracted, 1887

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#19 Charles Thomas Harris (b. 1843, England). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 12 months on October 3, 1887 (Christchurch). Photograph taken on December 12, 1888.

Charles Thomas Harris (b. 1843, England). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 12 months on October 3, 1887 (Christchurch). Photograph taken on December 12, 1888.

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#20 Charles Rowland (b. 1840, England). Charged with conspiring to cheat and sentenced to 2 years on January 5, 1886. Photograph taken on July 30, 1887 at the Lyttleton gaol.

Charles Rowland (b. 1840, England). Charged with conspiring to cheat and sentenced to 2 years on January 5, 1886. Photograph taken on July 30, 1887 at the Lyttleton gaol.

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#21 David Howard Mancroff Ogilvy alias Stuart M Ogilvy (b. 1840, Scotland). Charged with forgery and sentenced to 3 years on April 4, 1884 (Christchurch).

David Howard Mancroff Ogilvy alias Stuart M Ogilvy (b. 1840, Scotland). Charged with forgery and sentenced to 3 years on April 4, 1884 (Christchurch).

Occupation listed as a “linguist” and described as having a “superior” education. Large scar down left eyebrow and cheek. Previous charges for larceny, 1886

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#22 David Kirk Rhodes (b. 1847, England). Charged with 9 counts of embezzlement and sentenced to 3 years on April 4, 1887 (Dunedin). Photograph taken on July 11, 1889.

David Kirk Rhodes (b. 1847, England). Charged with 9 counts of embezzlement and sentenced to 3 years on April 4, 1887 (Dunedin). Photograph taken on July 11, 1889.

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#23 David Mills (b. 1844, Ireland). Charged with being a rogue & vagabond and sentenced to 6 months on October 22, 1887 (Auckland). Previous charges for vagrancy, larceny, and obscene words, 1888.

David Mills (b. 1844, Ireland). Charged with being a rogue & vagabond and sentenced to 6 months on October 22, 1887 (Auckland). Previous charges for vagrancy, larceny, and obscene words, 1888.

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#24 Dennis Collins, alias Murphy/Weston (b. 1852, Ireland). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 6 months on February 3, 1887 (Napier). Previous charges for larceny, vagrancy and horse stealing, 1887.

Dennis Collins, alias Murphy/Weston (b. 1852, Ireland). Charged with larceny and sentenced to 6 months on February 3, 1887 (Napier). Previous charges for larceny, vagrancy and horse stealing, 1887.

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#25 Douglas Hampton, alias Hamilton/Walter Johnston (b. 1860, England).

Douglas Hampton, alias Hamilton/Walter Johnston (b. 1860, England).

Charged with false pretenses and sentenced to 12 months in gaol on June 8, 1885 (Napier). Previous charges for larceny, willful damage and false pretenses. Photograph taken on March 4, 1886.

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#26 Edward Albert Maiver (b. 1870, Tasmania).

Edward Albert Maiver (b. 1870, Tasmania).

Charged with larceny and sentenced to 18 months on August 25, 1886 (Invercargill). Previous charges for larceny. Photograph taken on February 20, 1888.

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#27 Edward Charles Roberts (b. 1853, England).

Edward Charles Roberts (b. 1853, England).

Charged with cattle stealing and sentenced to 9 months on August 25, 1886 (Invercargill). A farmer, with half bracelet tattooed on each wrist and a cut on his left eyebrow. No previous convictions. Photograph taken on March 22, 1887.

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#28 Edward Hughes (b. 1868, Tasmania). Charged with housebreaking and sentenced to 3 years on October 5, 1885 (Dunedin), 1888

Edward Hughes (b. 1868, Tasmania). Charged with housebreaking and sentenced to 3 years on October 5, 1885 (Dunedin), 1888

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#29 Edward Scott (b. 1838, England). Charged with receiving stolen property and sentenced to 12 months on December 5, 1887 (Auckland).

Edward Scott (b. 1838, England). Charged with receiving stolen property and sentenced to 12 months on December 5, 1887 (Auckland).

Described as having an English coat of arms, a square and compass on his right arm, and a bracelet on each wrist. Photograph taken on September 13, 1887.

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#30 Edwin Hillcock (b. 1860, England). Charged with 2 counts of larceny and sentenced to 12 months on April 24, 1888 (Timaru). A farmer, with a mark of cut on little finger of left hand, 1889

Edwin Hillcock (b. 1860, England). Charged with 2 counts of larceny and sentenced to 12 months on April 24, 1888 (Timaru). A farmer, with a mark of cut on little finger of left hand, 1889

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#31 Eli Jones (b. 1866, England). Charged with forgery & uttering and sentenced to 2 years on April 8, 1885 (Christchurch), 1886.

Eli Jones (b. 1866, England). Charged with forgery & uttering and sentenced to 2 years on April 8, 1885 (Christchurch), 1886.

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#32 Francis Small (b. 1869, New Zealand). Charged with soliciting alms and sentenced to 2 months on November 18, 1887 (Auckland).

Francis Small (b. 1869, New Zealand). Charged with soliciting alms and sentenced to 2 months on November 18, 1887 (Auckland).

Previous charges for larceny and drunk & disorderly behavior. Photograph taken on February 17, 1888.

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#33 Frank Barker (b. 1857, France). Charged with cutting & wounding and sentenced to 18 months on April 8, 1885 (Auckland), 1886

Frank Barker (b. 1857, France). Charged with cutting & wounding and sentenced to 18 months on April 8, 1885 (Auckland), 1886

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#34 Frank Chaplaw, alias Claplaw/Claphaw/Challis (b. 1866, England). Charged with 5 counts of false pretenses and sentenced to 3 months on each charge. Both hands crooked, 1889

Frank Chaplaw, alias Claplaw/Claphaw/Challis (b. 1866, England). Charged with 5 counts of false pretenses and sentenced to 3 months on each charge. Both hands crooked, 1889

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#35 Frank Eustice Allan (b. 1847, USA). Charged with forgery & uttering and sentenced to 12 months in 1888 (Christchurch).

Frank Eustice Allan (b. 1847, USA). Charged with forgery & uttering and sentenced to 12 months in 1888 (Christchurch).

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#36 Frederick Austin alias Frances DeMaurier (b. 1868, Jersey). Charged with breaking & entering and sentenced to 9 months on January 4, 1887.

Frederick Austin alias Frances DeMaurier (b. 1868, Jersey). Charged with breaking & entering and sentenced to 9 months on January 4, 1887.

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#37 Frederick L Flint (b. 1830). Charged with false pretenses and sentenced to 1 month on July 7, 1887 (Christchurch).

Frederick L Flint (b. 1830). Charged with false pretenses and sentenced to 1 month on July 7, 1887 (Christchurch).

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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