Representatives from five of the Clan Donald Societies met in the capital city Wellington on Saturday the 23rd of May 2015. And what a brilliant weekend with plenty of sun and no wind. Wellington has the reputation for being the windy city.
The War Memorial Carillon, which was dedicated on Anzac Day 25th of April 1932, sits above the new National War Memorial Park in Buckle Street Wellington.
The AGM was held in the West Plaza Hotel, which had excellent conference facilities. The dinner in the evening was also held at the hotel.
The President Angus McDonald, from Wellington, welcomed everyone to the meeting. There were representatives from Southland, Canterbury, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Auckland, plus the High Commissioner, North Island Commissioner and South Island Commissioner.
Members gather before the meeting. From the left Angus McDonald, President Clan Donald New Zealand and Wellington; Marylyn Hayes, Secretary Clan Donald New Zealand and from Southland; High Commissioner Alan MacDonald; seated Murdock McDonald from Auckland; standing Patricia McKechnie, Treasurer Clan Donald New Zealand and from Wellington; Bruce McGechan, President Clan Donald Auckland; seated Brent Tomlinson from Canterbury; Alton McDonald, President Clan Donald
Southland; Elwyn Martin, South Island Commissioner; Christine Martin, Vice President Clan Donald New Zealand and President of Clan Donald Canterbury and Tom McDonald, North Island Commissioner.
Each of the Presidents, Christine Martin from Canterbury, Bruce McGechan from Auckland, Alton McDonald from Southland and Angus McDonald from Wellington presented a report on each of their societies activities during 2014. Elwyn Martin, the South Island Commissioner, also gave a report on the overall situation in the South Island, and Tom McDonald, the North Island Commissioner, did the same for the North Island.
Bruce McGechan, the Website Coordinator, also presented a report on the performance of the Clan Donald New Zealand Website. In particular, on the spectacular growth over recent years, from an average of 6,000 hits a month in 2012 to an average of 10,500 hits a month in 2014. There are a very loyal number of visitors, making up an average of 80% of the total number of visitors. Visitors were from a wide range of countries, from North and South America, Asia and Europe, Australia and New Zealand. 52% of all visitors to the Website are from New Zealand. Bruce also requested that all societies provide more information on events and news items during the next twelve months.
The Chairman Angus McDonald thanked everyone for their support over the past 12 months. He then handed over to the High Commissioner, Alan MacDonald, for the election of office bearers.
The following Officers were elected unanimously. President Angus McDonald of Wellington. Vice President Christine Martin of Canterbury. Secretary Marylyn Hayes of Southland, and Patricia McKechnie of Wellington as Treasurer.
From the left, Patricia McKechnie of Wellington, Treasurer, Marylyn Hayes of Southland, Secretary and Angus McDonald of Wellington, President.
The main business of the AGM concerned a new replacement constitution. The existing constitution had not worked, and had also been found to not comply with incorporated societies regulations.
Following robust discussion the new constitution, prepared by the sub-committee of David McDonald, Alan MacDonald and Angus McDonald, with amendments to do with membership, was approved.
It was also agreed that the 2016 Annual General Meeting be held in Christchurch on Saturday the 21st of May.
The AGM finished around 4.30pm. Some of the representatives had an opportunity to see some of the sights of Wellington. Others spent the time chatting over a dram or two before Dinner at the West Plaza Hotel.
The Dinner in the evening started with pre-dinner drinks followed by a welcome by the Clan Donald New Zealand President Angus McDonald. The High Commissioner Alan MacDonald also read out a message of greetings from the High Chief Lord Macdonald, The Rt. Hon. Godfrey James Macdonald of Macdonald.
High Commissioner Alan MacDonald reading the greetings from Lord Macdonald.
Following the speeches was the Haggis Ceremony. The Haggis Party of Piper Bruce McGechan of Auckland, Haggis Bearer Angus McDonald of Wellington, Bard David McDonald of Hawke’s Bay and Whisky Bearer Barry Fry of Wellington marched into the room to the well known Robbie Burns tune “A Man’s a Man for a’ That”.
David McDonald then gave a rousing rendition of the Robbie Burns “Ode to the Haggis”.
After sampling the Haggis the guests enjoyed a fantastic smorgasbord dinner.
Ewan & Valda McCann from Wellington.
During the evening the Clan Donald New Zealand President Angus McDonald formally presented to Alan MacDonald, his warrant for the position of High Commissioner. Alan had received his warrant in 2014 in an informal presentation in Christchurch, and this was the first occasion for representatives of the other societies to witness his receiving of the warrant.
The High Commissioner Alan MacDonald receiving his Warrant from the President Angus McDonald.
Also during the dinner, Bruce McGechan from Auckland, played several pipe tunes of significance to the High Commissioner Alan MacDonald and the President Angus McDonald.
The first tune was a slow air entitled “Great is the Source of My Sorrow”. This tune commemorates the massacre at Glencoe, and had special significance to Alan MacDonald, as his father Collin is in the process of applying to the Court of Lord Lyon to be recognised as the Chief of MacDonald of Glencoe.
The second tune entitled “Kathleen MacDonald “ had special significance with family connections for Angus McDonald.
From the left, Katherine Steer, and Marylyn & Graydon Hayes from Southland.
Grant & Catherine MacDonald from Wellington.
South Island Commissioner Elwyn Martin and Canterbury President Christine Martin.
At the back, Megan Hall, and Tom & Ian Dickson from Clan Keith, and in the front, Maureen McDonald and Erin Moyle from Wellington.
Sheila & Duncan Wall, National President of Clan Gunn New Zealand.
John, Patricia & Peter McKechnie from Wellington.
Julie Dickson and Erin Draper from Clan Keith.
The guests from the Clan Donald Societies and their friends from Clan Gunn and Clan Keith enjoyed a great evening, and after the Dinner met in the Hotel Bar to chat and enjoy a few drinks before retiring.