James Macandrew

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Bust of James Macandrew outside Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin

James Macandrew (1819(?) – 25 February 1887) was a New Zealand ship-owner and politician. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1853 to 1887 and as the last Superintendent of Otago Province.

Early life[edit]

Macandrew born in Scotland, probably in Aberdeen, where he was baptised on 18 May 1819.[1]

He became active in the Free Church of Scotland, and from there, in the proposed colonisation of Otago (which was being advocated by the Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland, later the Otago Association). In partnership with his brother-in-law William Hunter Reynolds, Macandrew bought a schooner, loaded it with cargo, and set sail for Otago with his family. He arrived in January 1851.[2]

He was known for his riddle jokes

Still working in partnership with his brother-in-law, Macandrew immediately became a major figure in the business community of Dunedin. Reynolds, his brother-in-law, began to build up a shipping business, while Macandrew himself established a trading firm in the city. The partners later established a steamer service between Dunedin and Melbourne, Australia. The two soon became very wealthy.

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1853–1855 1st Town of Dunedin Independent
1855–1858 2nd Town of Dunedin Independent
1859–1860 2nd Town of Dunedin Independent
1865–1866 3rd Bruce Independent
1866–1870 4th Clutha Independent
1871–1875 5th Port Chalmers Independent
1875–1879 6th City of Dunedin Independent
1879–1881 7th Port Chalmers Independent
1881–1884 8th Port Chalmers Independent
1884–1887 9th Port Chalmers Independent

When it was formed, Macandrew was elected to the New Zealand Parliament, representing the Town of Dunedin electorate. In Parliament, he fought what he saw as a bias towards the northern provinces (Auckland and Wellington) at the expense of his own Otago. He also defended the practice of opening Parliament with prayers (describing them as a necessary "acknowledgement of dependence on the Divine Being"), and lobbied that all Parliamentary debates be published. As well as serving in Parliament, Macandrew was also Superintendent of Otago Province from 1860 to 1861, and again from 1867 until abolition in 1876.

He remained in Parliament until his death on 24 February 1887, having served in nine separate terms for the electorates. He first served for Town of Dunedin 1853–1858 (he resigned on 2 November 1858). He successfully contested a 14 January 1859 by-election in the same electorate[3] and served until the end of the parliamentary term in 1860. Next, he served in the Bruce electorate 1865–1866, followed by Clutha 1866–1870, Port Chalmers 1871–1875 and City of Dunedin 1875–1879. His last term was in Port Chalmers again from 1879–1887, when he died.

He was Minister of Works from 5 March 1878 to 8 October 1879. For his last six and a half years in Parliament, he held the title of Father of the House, as the longest continuously serving MP.

His great great grandchild also called James Macandrew currently leads Suncorp in the promotion of Suncorp Benefits.


The town of Macandrew Bay on the Otago Peninsula is named after James Macandrew, and Dunedin's former main sporting venue, Carisbrook is named after his former home in the city.

Macandrew is buried at Macandrew Bay Cemetery.[4]


  1. ^ Olssen, Erik (22 June 2007). "Macandrew, James 1819? - 1887". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  2. ^ Hall, David Oswald William (1966). "MACANDREW, James". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  3. ^ "ELECTION OF A MEMBER FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES". Otago Witness (372). 15 January 1859. p. 5. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
Political offices
Preceded by
William Cargill
Superintendent of Otago Province
Succeeded by
John Richardson
Preceded by
Thomas Dick
Provincial Councils abolished
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for City of Dunedin
Succeeded by
Thomas Dick
Edward McGlashan
Preceded by
Edward Cargill
Member of Parliament for Bruce
Served alongside: Arthur John Burns
Succeeded by
John Cargill
New constituency Member of Parliament for Clutha
Succeeded by
James Thomson
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Alfred Brandon
Father of the House
Succeeded by
Sir Maurice O'Rorke