Clan Donald, Latitude 46 Degrees South by W.P. McDonald, Commissioner for New Zealand

In the 1850’s, pioneers from the British Isles bravely and hopefully settled on the virgin lands of New Zealand determined to gain prosperity by farming. The stories of those pioneers’ perseverance and success have been rightly praised by all.

Otago and Southland at the very south of New Zealand not unnaturally attracted men and women from North of the Tweed and these hardy Scots, surrounded by lofty mountains and winter snows, by hard work and thriftiness soon gained a fair measure of prosperity. Wherever Scots gathered, the culture of the Celts was not forgotten and in the latter part of the century various Societies were formed to promote Highland dancing, piping, Robert Burns, and the Gaelic.

Southland, in particular, had an attraction for the Highlanders. This being so, it is not surprising that the formation of Clan Societies has originated in Invercargill, the capital of Southland, rather than in Otago.

In June 1959 a group of Macdonalds of Southland decided to form a branch of the Clan Donald which branch was duly registered as Clan Donald Society of New Zealand (Inc.). In our initial stages we were greatly assisted and encouraged by the Secretary of the Edinburgh Society, and I am sure all the other Clan Donald Societies will join with us in expressing our thanks and appreciation to Donald Macdonald for all his enthusiasm and knowledgeable efforts in promoting Clan Donald interests. Our membership of some two hundred would seem strange to a Macdonald living on the Highland Mainland, as the majority are New Zealand born and few have seen the purple heather, smelt the tangle of the Isles, or heard the lilt of the Gaelic But the pride of clanship is there fostered by the tales of yore told by the father, mother, or grandparents who knew and loved their native Highlands!

Because of the advice of that great clansman Macdonald of Kingsburgh, we have revived our constitution so that it is now similar to the American Society. Lord Macdonald has accepted us as a branch of the Clan Donald and we recognise His Lordship as our Chief. We are hopeful that now we are properly constituted the time will not be far distant when we will be able to form further branches throughout New Zealand. Recently Lord Macdonald in his graciousness has conferred the office of Commissioner for New Zealand on myself.

Clansmen of Scotland, we send greetings and long may there be men of Highland blood who will be willing to keep alive the glorious traditions of our Clan.