Herries was born in London, the son of a barrister, and educated at Eton College and the Trinity College, Cambridge. At the age of 22 he emigrated to New Zealand and became a farmer near Te Aroha. A member of the Reform Party, he was elected to Parliament for the Bay of Plenty in 1896, holding the seat until 1908, when he was elected for Tauranga, which he held until his death.
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 was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 1920 New Year Honours.