Born in 1832, Sir James was educated in Rugby and Oxford. He served with the Grenadier Guards in the Crimea, was wounded at Inkerman and later succeeded a friend, who was killed in the same action, as Conservative MP for Ayrshire.
He was under-secretary at the India Office in 1866 and held the same position at the Home office in 1867. He was Governor of South Australia in 1869-73 before becoming Governor of New Zealand in 1873. He resigned in 1874 and returned to England where he was a successful and progressive administrator. His positions included under-secretary for the Foreign Office and Postmaster-General.
Sir James was killed in the January 1907 earthquake at Kingston, Jamaica.
Biographical information courtesy of NZ Almanack
Read Sir James Fergusson's biography on Wikipedia