Douglas Maclean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sir Douglas Maclean
Sir Robert Donald Douglas Maclean.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Napier
In office
Preceded bySamuel Carnell
Succeeded byAlfred Fraser
Personal details
Robert Donald Douglas McLean

(1852-11-07)7 November 1852
Wellington, New Zealand
Died7 February 1929(1929-02-07) (aged 76)
Political partyIndependent conservative
RelationsDonald McLean (father)
Charles Fountaine (son-in-law)
Andrew Fountaine (grandson)

Sir Robert Donald Douglas Maclean (7 November 1852 – 7 February 1929), generally known as Douglas Maclean but earlier spelled McLean like his father, was one of the largest land holders in the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand. He was regarded as the country's most successful breeder of shorthorn cattle and Welsh Ponies. He had inherited his station from his father, Donald McLean, who was one of the most influential figures in Māori-Pākehā relations in the mid-1800s. For one term, Douglas Maclean represented the Napier electorate as an independent Conservative member of parliament. After his death, his station was broken up and the land is now covered by 60 farms. The woolshed of his station still exists. It is registered as a Category I heritage structure by Heritage New Zealand.

Early life[edit]

His parents, Donald McLean and Susan Douglas Strang, married on 28 August 1851 in Wellington. He was born in that city a good year later and shortly afterwards, his mother died in December 1852. His father was deeply affected by the loss and never remarried.[1] He was known as Douglas,[1] and initially used his father's spelling of the surname as McLean, but later changed to and preferred Maclean (with an 'a' and a lower case 'l').[2][3]

He spent most of his early years in Napier, but received his education at Auckland Grammar School.[4] He left New Zealand in 1864[1] for further study at Temple Grove in Surrey and Clifton College[5] in Bristol, England.[6] He returned to New Zealand and worked for the Wellington law firm of Hart and Buckley.[6] He was an able athlete and won the first two bicycle races held in Wellington, and was one of the very early rugby players.[7]

After several years, he returned to England to study law.[6] He was called to the bar in that country, but did not practice.[4] He returned to New Zealand in 1870 and inherited his father's Maraekakaho Station in 1877.[1] In October 1877, he set up the Te Makarini Trust in memory of his father. From the initial endowment of £3,000, Te Aute College is providing annual scholarships to gifted Māori students.[8]


As a farmer, Maclean was regarded as New Zealand's foremost breeder of shorthorn cattle and Welsh Ponies.[4] He was also recognised as a breeder of draught horses, and various sheep breeds (Lincoln, English Leicester, and Merino).[4] He had a large woolshed built on the station that had capacity for 5,000 sheep. The remaining building (an attached night pen has been demolished) is registered with Heritage New Zealand as a Category I heritage structure, with registration number 1026.[9] At its peak, Maraekakaho Station had 50,777 acres (205.49 km2), 63,000 sheep and 80 staff. The land reforms introduced by the Seddon Ministry resulted in land having to be sold off. After Maclean's death, the station was cut up and sold by auction; 60 farms now cover the original Maraekakaho Station.[9] Maclean was regarded as a good employer.

Community involvement[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1896–1899 13th Napier Conservative

Maclean was a member of various public bodies. He was elected to the Hawke's Bay County Council and the Hawke's Bay Hospital Board. For a time, he was the president of the Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society.[4]

There were speculations that Maclean would be the conservative candidate in the Napier electorate in the 1890 election upon his return from England instead of George Henry Swan, but this was not correct.[10] Swan contested the election and was successful against the Liberal Party candidate Michael Gannon.[11][12] In the 1896 election, the Liberal Party incumbent Samuel Carnell was challenged by Maclean, with Maclean achieving a large majority of 2456 votes to 1709.[13][14] Maclean represented the Napier electorate in Parliament for one term until 1899, when he was narrowly defeated (1994 votes to 1956) by the Liberal Party candidate Alfred Fraser.[15][16] Politics was not his calling, and he was known to say that "a country made progress despite of its politicians".[17]

World War I[edit]

He went to England during World War I and, together with his wife, was involved in various patriotic activities. He was on the executive committee of New Zealand Walton Hospital, the country's first military hospital in England.[4][18] He was a member of the New Zealand War Contingent Association, and chaired the executive committee of the New Zealand's Soldiers' Hostel. The Macleans returned to Maraekakaho after the war, and he became a strong supporter of the Navy League.[4] In the 1927 New Year Honours, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor, for services to New Zealand.[19]

Family and death[edit]

Maclean married Irish-born Florence Butler-Storey while he studied law in England.[17][20] They had one son and two daughters.[4] Their son, Algernon Donald Douglas Maclean, died in 1923 from injuries received during World War I.[4][21] His oldest daughter married Vice Admiral Charles Fountaine, and Andrew Fountaine was thus their grandson.[17]

Maclean died on 7 February 1929.[22] His estate was valued at just under £750,000, he left endowments to various organisations and made provisions for various friends and former employees.[23] The family grave is on Napier Hill.[22] His wife died in 1940, and she was survived by their two daughters.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d Ward, Alan. "McLean, Donald – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Marae Kakaho". Auckland Star. LX (46). 23 February 1929. p. 1. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  3. ^ Cowan (a) 1940, p. VIII.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Obituary". Auckland Star. LX (33). 8 February 1929. p. 9. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Clifton College Register" Muirhead, J.A.O. p18: Bristol; J.W Arrowsmith for Old Cliftonian Society; April, 1948
  6. ^ a b c Cowan (b) 1940, p. 143.
  7. ^ Cowan (b) 1940, p. 144.
  8. ^ McLintock, A. H., ed. (1966). "McLean, Sir Donald". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Maraekakaho Station Woolshed". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  10. ^ "Election News". Poverty Bay Herald. XVIII (5902). 22 October 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  11. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 237.
  12. ^ "The General Election, 1890". National Library. 1891. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  13. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 217.
  14. ^ "The General Election". Poverty Bay Herald. XXIII (7794). 5 December 1896. p. 2. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  15. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 198, 217.
  16. ^ "The General Election, 1899". Wellington: Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives. 19 June 1900. p. 1. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  17. ^ a b c Cowan (b) 1940, p. 145.
  18. ^ "New Zealand general hospital no. 2, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, UK". Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  19. ^ "No. 33235". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1927. p. 3.
  20. ^ a b "Death of Lady McLean". Auckland Star. LXXI (234). 2 October 1940. p. 14. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  21. ^ "Obituary". The New Zealand Herald. LX (18551). 8 November 1923. p. 10. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  22. ^ a b Cowan (b) 1940, p. 147.
  23. ^ "Hawke's Bay Bequests". Auckland Star. LX (36). 12 February 1929. p. 9. Retrieved 18 May 2013.


  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
  • Cowan, James (1940). Sir Donald Maclean: The Story of a New Zealand Statesman. Wellington: Reed.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Samuel Carnell
Member of Parliament for Napier
Succeeded by
Alfred Fraser