From a wealthy middle-class family, he was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied natural sciences.
At the age of 22 he emigrated to New Zealand and became a farmer near Te Aroha, with a passion for racing and breeding horses. Herries was elected to the House of Representatives for the Bay of Plenty electorate in 1896, holding the seat until 1908, when he was elected for Tauranga, which he held until his death. The Herries travelled to England in 1912.
They left on 21 March on the Iconic.
The journey was a disaster, though. Just before they left, his mother died in New Zealand.
He was the Minister of Native Affairs from 1912 to February 1921, Minister of Railways from 1912 to 1919, Minister of Marine and Minister of Customs from 1919 to February 1921, and Minister of Labour from 1920 to February 1921 in the Reform Government. He died in Wellington on 22 February 1923.
He became a member of the Reform Party, which formed in 1909.