Clan MacRae New Zealand History
Content by: Sue Tregoweth
The Clan MacRae Society of Australia welcomes New Zealand members in 1991.
At the meeting of the Clan MacRae Society of Australia held in Sydney on 15 May 1991, a Revision of the Constitution was made to include New Zealand members. Shirley Martin from Auckland attended this meeting and Eileen McMillan of Dunedin was appointed as the New Zealand representative. These two and Molly Akers were the first three NZ members to be welcomed.
Eileen was Molly’s great helper in getting all the NZ MacRae trees sent to Molly, onto computer during those arduous years before publication of “MacRaes to New Zealand” on Christmas Eve 1994. Molly had been in touch with Flora Willmott in Queensland since 1985 regarding their MacRae genealogy reference books. Both Molly and Flora had tremendous help from Kenneth C. MacRae of Goulburn, secretary/editor for the Society.
Molly took over as the NZ rep 1994-1996 when Sue Tregoweth of Te Kuiti stepped in and has been serving the NZ members with dedication ever since.
From 3 NZ members in 1991, we had 85 in 1999. We peaked with 102 in 2004 and today, 2012, our tiny country now has 88 members.
Dunedin was the Edinburgh of NZ as Scot immigrants settled there in the mid to late 1880s. In one small area in Southland, Hokonui, there were six unrelated MacRae families, one of whom was Mary McRae and family, famous for the distilling of illicit Hokonui whisky!
We have been honoured by visits to our MacRae Gatherings in NZ from Miss Elma McRae, (secretary) in 1997, Nancy Williams 1998, Mrs Marigold MacRae with daughter, Baroness Miranda Van Lynden in 1999 and with her grandson, Tristan Van Lynden in 2003.
Molly Akers and Eileen McMillan were honoured for their work for MacRaes by the Society in 2008 with Life Membership.