The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 12 (March 1, 1935)
Books and Lectures
Books and Lectures.
Those Pacific cruisings of the active little professor, which criss-crossed all the wide ocean, gave him material for several books, dealing with the origin and culture of Maori and Polynesian, the Dutch East Indies, and other topics arising out of racial migrations and the mingling of races. Primitive man in Oceania presented endless questions for discussion and solution. Nothing in the Pacific escaped his eye or brain. He discussed such subjects as the origin and development of artistic design and artcraft, the origin of the Maori curve and spiral in carving, in a way that revealed the great breadth and range of his observations.
He talked publicly even more than he wrote. The professorial manner was always with him, but he never wearied his hearers. He was the most fascinating and charming of teachers and lecturers. I first made his acquaintance in Christchurch in 1906, and I remember well how pleasant it was to listen to the greatly learned man discuss all manner of men and places, and reveal every now and again some unexpected treasury of knowledge, the garnerings of his travels. That was at his home beside the glistening waters of the little Wairarapa, where grand old trees bent over the quiet stream. In his later years he built a pretty home on the Cashmere Hills, high above Christchurch city, where he could look out over the green glory of the plains to the snowy glint of the far-away mountains. There lies Macmillan Brown, returned to the earth beside the city where he taught with all the loving fire and energy of youth sixty years ago. He will never be forgotten. His books are his memorial; but an even greater memorial will be the School of Pacific Studies for which he left the greater part of the wealth he had gathered by wise investments and savings.
Professor Macmillan Brown's wife (who died in 1903) was a very gifted woman, a fitting mate. She was Helen Connon, M.A., the first woman to graduate with honours in a British University; she became Principal of the Christchurch Girls' High School.