Born in Leicester, England, Holland emigrated to New Zealand in 1860, settling in Auckland in 1864 after spending time in the Otago gold fields and serving as a sergeant with the Militia in the Waikato during the New Zealand Wars. He established a building and contracting business, and was prominent in many civic and charitable bodies in Auckland. He was a member of Manchester Unity, an Oddfellow and a Freemason. In 1864, Holland married Agnes Melvin MacKenzie, daughter of Duncan MacKenzie, of Glasgow, and the couple went on to have three daughters and three sons.
In 1886, Holland was elected as city councillor for the city’s Eastern Ward. He also served two terms on the Auckland Harbour Board and was for some years a member of the Hospital Board. Later, in 1893 he was elected Mayor of Auckland City serving for three years.
He was elected to the City of Auckland multi-member electorate in 1896, but was defeated in 1899. He was also defeated in a 1900 by-election after the death of the sitting member William Crowther by Joseph Witheford, despite being endorsed by Seddon.
Upon defeat, Holland was subsequently appointed as a Government trustee to the Auckland Savings Bank. He also served as the chairman of the committee of St. John Ambulance Association.