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.

Clan Donald Canterbury Branch Meeting May 2018

Clan Donald Canterbury held their quarterly meeting on Sunday 6th May. Meetings are always in February, May, August and November and are held in the Forfar Courts Community Hall, 95 Forfar Street, St Albans.

We met at 12.00 pm for a fish and chip lunch prior to the meeting. This provides a popular, and easy, way to enjoy a catch up over lunch. The meeting started at 1.00 pm.

Ann Smith thanked the Canterbury members for all their support for the recent Clan Donald ANZAC forum held in Christchurch. She appreciated their attendance at the various events and their contributions to the fundraising raffles run by the organising committee. Ann advised that the forum itself had been extremely beneficial and our committee had taken on board many of the learnings. They are currently reviewing the setup of the clan stall and how we promote ourselves to prospective new members.

Canterbury has always maintained an active, and varied, calendar of events. This is an important way of maintaining members interest and involvement in the clan. During the meeting, the events for the rest of the year was finalised and has since been published and listed under the Events section.

President Ann Smith congratulated long standing Clan Donald Canterbury members, Colin and Doreen MacDonald on their 70th wedding anniversary which they had celebrated the day before with a lunch put on by their family. They are foundation members of Clan Donald Canterbury. Colin and Doreen, along with Ian Donald, were instrumental in setting up Clan Donald Canterbury in 1991. Colin was president from 1994-96. Colin and Doreen have been very active members, frequently hosting events in their home and attending many events. They both attended the recent ANZAC forum including the dinner that night.

Doreen and Colin MacDonald celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.

Commemoration of the Massacre of Glencoe

This year it was the turn of New Zealand to sponsor the Clan Donald wreath at the commemoration of the Massacre of Glencoe on 13 February 2018 held in Glencoe. The wreath was laid on our behalf by Lois MacDonell of Glengarry.

The sponsorship of the wreath is rotated each year among the following Clan Donald Societies; New Zealand, USA, Australia, Highlands and Islands, and Canada.

The commemoration commenced with a service in St Mary’s Church, followed at midday with a march to the Memorial and a ceremony with wreath laying. Lunch in the Glencoe Inn followed.

Alain Macdonald of the Clan Donald Society of the Highlands and Islands has kindly provided some photos taken on the day.

Alan MacDonald
High Commissioner for Clan Donald in New Zealand


The Commemoration at the Glencoe Memorial.


The Glencoe wreath sponsored by Clan Donald New Zealand.


The wreath was laid on New Zealand’s behalf by Lois MacDonell of Glengarry.


The Glencoe Memorial.





Clan Donald Canterbury 27th AGM

Clan Donald Canterbury held their AGM and Branch Meeting on Sunday 11th February. After meeting for many years in the St Albans Community Centre, we have had a change of venue. Our meeting was held in the Forfar Courts Community Hall which proved to be a very satisfactory venue and will be hired for meetings this year.

Ann Smith was elected as president and Margaret Donald was re-elected as Secretary/Treasurer. Ann takes over from Christine Martin who has served as president for 5 years. A vote of thanks was passed for Christine’s contribution as president. Irvine Kinraid has stood down from the committee after providing valuable service for many years.

To commemorate the Glencoe massacre Ann Smith played the pipes and Alan MacDonald read a poem “Massacre At Glencoe” written by American poet, Randy McClave.

The meeting was followed by a very enjoyable barbecue at Alan MacDonald’s house. Although we were not blessed with the normal good weather we have had for this occasion in the past, we were fortunate it stopped raining late afternoon.


Newly elected president, Ann Smith,
supervisors the barbecue chef, Ian Bright


Ian Bright, Elwyn Martin, Christine Martin and Ann Smith

154th Turakina Highland Games 2018

Sat 27th JANUARY 2018

A Little History: The first ‘Turakina Highland Games’ were held in 1864, and are New Zealand’s oldest on-land sporting event. The Games were established by the Turakina Caledonian Society Inc. – Est. 1864.

Clan Donald Wellington once again did its annual pilgrimage to Turakina, a small village in the western Rangitikei district in the southern North Island of New Zealand. A twenty-minute car ride south of Whanganui.

Supporting John and Patricia McKechnie, Vice President and Secretary Clan Donald Wellington, over the weekend were the North Island Commissioner Tom McDonald and his wife Lynnette, Vice President Clan Donald Auckland, and the New Zealand High Commissioner Alan MacDonald. This group followed the tradition of staying at the Rutland Arms Hotel in Whanganui for a weekend of conviviality, and of course some whisky sampling.


Outside the Clan Donald Wellington tent are John McKechnie Vice President Wellington, David Moore Committee Wellington, Alan MacDonald High Commissioner for New Zealand, and Tom McDonald North Island Commissioner.


This year Clan Donald Wellington decided to add to the usual decorations in the Clan tent. We bought Scottish flag bunting and a large Scottish flag, plus 4 large and 4 small Clan Shields, to liven up the interior and exterior of the tent.


John McKechnie’s decorating skills are been supervised by Alan MacDonald and Patricia McKechnie.


And of course on the day we were supported by the Clan Donald Wellington President Carl Bradley and Committee Member David Moore, plus our newest members Roger & Diana McDonald.

Visitors on the Day:


Newest Clan Donald Wellington members Roger & Diana McDonald.


Lynnette McDonald Vice President Clan Donald Auckland and 
Tony Franklin-Ross from Clan Mackenzie.


We had many visitors on the day including one from Clan Campbell


From the left John McKechnie Vice President Clan Donald Wellington, Lindsay Campbell from Clan Campbell, and Clan Donald High Commissioner Alan MacDonald.


From the left Patricia McKechnie Secretary Clan Donald Wellington, with Bruce McGechan Immediate Past President Clan Donald Auckland, and Lynnette McDonald Vice President Clan Donald Auckland.


At lunchtime we took part in the Clans March.


The Clan Donald Wellington Colour Party. Banner Bearer John McKechnie, Aida Tavassoli, High Commissioner Alan MacDonald, Carl Bradley President Clan Donald Wellington, David Moore and North Island Commissioner Tom McDonald.


Colour Party. Aida Tavassoli, Carl Bradley, Tom McDonald, Alan MacDonald, David Moore and John McKechnie.

Waipu Highland Games 2018

It was a bright morning on New Years Day for the Waipu Highland Games at the Caledonian Grounds. However, there were some ominous dark clouds on the horizon that indicated possible rain later in the day.

The official start to the Games had the Waipu Pipe Band leading the Clans March from the Monument into the Caledonian Grounds to the Avenue of Clans for the flag raising. The host clan for the day was Clan Davidson who led the parade, and their Chief Grant Davidson took the salute as the clans passed the saluting base.

A good-sized crowd arrived early and were soon chatting to members of the various clans. The Clan Donald Pavilion had many members and friends calling in for a chat and refreshments.


Vice President Lynnette McDonald and Murdock McDonald set up the Hospitality Table for the Pavilion.


Friends from Pukekohe, Gary and Diane Landon, with Vice President Lynnette McDonald and North Island Commissioner Tom McDonald.


At 12.30pm the massed bands and clans paraded around the arena for the Official opening, which included a massed Highland Fling.


The massed pipe bands led by Pipe Major Eddie Eeles from the Auckland Police Pipe Band.


The massed Highland Fling.


The Clan Donald Colour Party. From the right, Banner Bearer, Vice President Lynnette McDonald, President Barrie Paterson, (partially obscured), Annette Paterson, North Island Commissioner Tom McDonald and Lex Allan.


The threatened rain finally arrived with a cloudburst around 2pm. This sent the crowd scattering to find shelter. The Highland Dancing continued in the Celtic Barn and the Piping Competition was transferred to the school hall and classrooms.

By early evening the rain had ceased and the Ceilidh with the Twisty Willow musicians was held in the Celtic Barn from 7.30pm. Around 100 guests were treated to well organised, calling of the dances, and a plentiful supper with haggis and Athol Brose for sustenance.

Despite the weather it was a great Highland Games for the start of 2018.

Auckland Pre-Christmas Lunch 2017

It was a warm but showery day on Sunday the 10th of December for the Clan Donald Auckland Pre-Christmas Lunch. And once again the luncheon was held in the Highlander Bar of the Northcote Tavern. This was the 5th year that the event was held in the Highlander Bar, which not only has a fantastic menu, including their famous Sunday Roast, but the atmosphere is very Scottish, with the tartan carpet, and on the walls, many clan shields with the various Coats-of-Arms.

There were around 30 Clan Donald members, who were entertained as they arrived, by John Hawthorn, with a selection of Scottish tunes on his piano accordion.


John Hawthorn playing a selection of Scottish tunes.


The Signals Pipe Band also arrived, after the Birkenhead Christmas Parade, to entertain the Clan Donald members and tavern guests.


Between showers the Signals Pipe Band entertained the guests.


Pipe Corporal Andrew Wilkie is also a Past President
of Clan Donald Auckland.


After such a fantastic lunch and entertainment, the members spent the rest of the afternoon chatting over a few drinks.


Clan Chaplain Diane Winder enjoyed the lunch. She has
not long returned from the USA.

Jim Donald, a long time member of Clan Donald Auckland.


Vice President Lynnette McDonald, with longtime Clan Donald member and friend Marlene Mathews.