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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Sir Donald McLean

Sir Donald McLean, K.C.M.G., the third Superintendent of Hawke's Bay, was born in Scotland in the year 1820. He went to Sydney at seventeen years of age, and two years late came to New Zealand. In April, 1844, he entered the Government service as Protector of the Aborigines, for the Western district, which extended from Mokau to Wanganui, and included Taupo. Sir George Grey subsequently abolished the department of Native Protectors, but retained Mr. McLean's services for practically the same duties, under the designation of Inspector of Police. In 1850 he received a commission empowering him to acquire land for the Government, in both islands. He visited Hawke's Bay, and arranged for the purchase of between six and seven hundred thousand acres, which led to the settlement of the province. With Sir George Grey's sanction he organised a department, in 1853, called the Native Land Purchase Department, with officers allotted to the various districts. He himself held office as Chief Commissioner, and, in that capacity, in 1851, made large purchases of land in the Auckland province. During the period of Governor Gore Browne's administration he continued to hold this office, together with that of native secretary, and was the adviser of the Governor on all matters affecting the Natives. In 1863 Sir Donald McLean settled in Hawke's Bay, and in the same year was elected to the office of Superintendent. In 1866 he was returned for the first time to the House of Representatives, and during the following three years continued to be both Superintendent and member. He took office in 1869 as Native and Defence Minister, and held this position until he retired from public life, seven years later. For thirty-two years Sir Donald McLean was actively engaged in the public service, from which he retired just a month before his death, which took place at Napier, on the 5th of January, 1877. The “Lyttelton Times,” a few days before his death, in summing up a long article upon him, said: “As a public man, measured by the value of what he has done, he dwarfs everyone in New Zealand.” Sir Donald was knighted in the year 1874, in recognition of his public services.

The Late Sir D. McLean.

The Late Sir D. McLean.