Clan Donald Australia & New Zealand 3rd Forum 2018

The third Forum, after Auckland in 2013 and Victoria in 2016, was held on the 22nd to the 25th of March 2018 at the Hornby Club in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Around 40 members of Clan Donald from Australia and New Zealand, gathered in the afternoon of Wednesday the 21st at the Denton Motel, where most were staying, for pre-dinner drinks. This gave the New Zealanders the opportunity to meet and chat with the Australian members from Western Australian, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Then it was off to the Hornby Club for dinner.

Neil Macdonald, Commissioner Clan Donald Queensland, Tom Macdonald from Victoria, and Alan MacDonald, New Zealand High Commissioner. 


Donald Dunston from Victoria and Barrie Paterson President of Clan Donald Auckland.


Carol Wilson from Western Australia and Lynnette McDonald Vice President of Clan Donald Auckland.


Australian and New Zealand members at dinner in the Hornby Club.


On Saturday, following registration at 9.30 am and morning tea, the real business of the Forum got underway.

At 10.30 am the welcome address was given by Alan MacDonald, the New Zealand High Commissioner.

Greetings were also given by Lachlan MacDonald, the High Commissioner for Australia.


Lachlan MacDonald presenting a fine bottle of 10 year Bowmore Whisky to Alan MacDonald.


The three Commissioners from Australia, Neil MacDonald from Queensland, Pam McDonald from Western Australia, and Norman MacDonald from Victoria gave an update on Clan Donald in their states.


Neil Macdonald, Queensland Commissioner giving an update on Clan Donald in Queensland.


Commissioner Pam McDonald giving an update on Clan Donald in Western Australia.


Commissioner Norman Macdonald and Jan giving an update on Clan Donald Victoria and Clan MacDonald Yarraville.


There were two major addresses, and workshops at the Forum. The first was on recruitment. A major problem, with all the Clan Donald societies, is the recruitment of new members. There were two very experienced people who did this presentation. Liz Mills and Dan Richards. Liz is the Customer Experience Manager at Ballantynes Store, Christchurch’s leading store. She has a lot of experience in retail training and development. Dan also has a lot of experience in retail merchandising. He worked in retail not only in New Zealand but also in the USA, Australia and the UK.

Dan started the address by focusing on presentation, particularly with the stall at Highland Games. Liz’s address stated that you can have the best-looking stall, but unless you have the ability to engage with people it is all for nothing. She then advised on how to approach potential new members, how to introduce yourself and how to encourage questions and ideas.

The members were then divided into workshop groups to prepare proposals based on the presentations and also their own experience. The groups then presented their proposals to the Forum.


One of the workshop groups. Jim MacDonald, Christine Martin and Jan and Norman Macdonald, working on their proposal.


Dan Richards assists Judith English from NSW present her group’s proposal.


Tom Macdonald from Victoria presents his group’s proposal with help from Dan Richards.


John McKechnie from Wellington presenting his group’s proposal.


The second address was on retention, and this was presented by Belinda Barrett-Walker. She is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Christchurch City Council, and is an expert at looking after volunteers and has a wealth of knowledge covering such areas as, strategies for keeping members, what you can offer, meeting their needs and how you show appreciation.


Belinda explaining the areas, that Clan Donald societies can use to keep members.


Following lunch the workshop groups were re-convened to discuss retention programmes.

At 3 pm Alan MacDonald addressed the Forum, seeking feedback on the day. The general opinion was that it had been a great day for gaining new ideas for recruiting new members, and how to look after all members and keep them interested in Clan Donald.


Alan MacDonald seeking feedback on the day.


The Saturday evening dinner was a formal affair. The meal was in a buffet style.


The Commissioners at the dinner. From the left, Neil Macdonald from Queensland, Norman Macdonald from Victoria, Lachlan MacDonald Australian High Commissioner, Pam McDonald from Western Australia, Alan MacDonald New Zealand High Commissioner, Elwyn Martin from the South Island and Tom McDonald from the North Island of New Zealand.


Ann Smith was the Piper for the Haggis ceremony and the Haggis party comprised commissioners from both sides of the Tasman.


The Haggis Ceremony. From the left: Ann Smith, Piper; Norman Macdonald, Guard; Tom McDonald, giving the Burns Ode to the Haggis; Lachlan MacDonald, Haggis Bearer; and Alan MacDonald, Whisky Bearer.


Forum members enjoying the formal dinner.


During the four days of the Forum members were also given the opportunity to do some sight seeing around Christchurch.

This included seeing some of the reconstructed buildings after the earthquake. A visit to the Airforce Museum at Wigram. To Lyttleton for a trip on the harbour to see the Hectors Dolphins at Godley Head. Out to New Brighton to walk the Brighton Pier and dinner at the New Brighton Club.


Clan Donald members at the Wigram Airforce Base.


Walking the Brighton Pier before dinner at the New Brighton Club.

On the final day Sunday, after brunch at McDonald’s in Hornby, there was a tour of Riccarton House. This was the third home of the pioneering family from Scotland, the Deans. The house has been repaired and restored after the earthquakes.


Riccarton House.