McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers

McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877McLean, Alexander, 1819-1873; McLean, William Kentish, active 1867-1884; McLean, Archibald John, 1816-1881
The papers relate to McLean's activities as Protector of Aborigines, Native Land Purchase Commissioner, Minister of Native Affairs and other positions, as well as his personal and commercial dealings. McLean's influence as a public servant and politician came to depend on a network of patronage within both Maori and settler society, and he always resisted any encroachment by others on his authority and ways of doing things. That is one reason why so much of what he did is documented in these semi-private records, rather than in the official records of the Native Department. The two large series of correspondence - English-language and Maori - are a particularly rich record of New Zealand race relations from the 1840s to the 1870s. The other main series, in particular the outwards letters, journals, diaries and notebooks, and the official papers, were kept less systematically and are harder to use. But they are also a rewarding source for race relations history. Relationship complexity - Typescripts of most of the English-language letters and of McLean's journals are available at MS-1294-1305, and MS-1306-1353 (see series 14). Arrangement: Papers of other members of the McLean family that were formerly a part of this collection have been arranged and catalogued separately as McLean family papers (MS-Group-1556) The Maori letters (series 2) have been described to piece level. These letters are organised chronologically. Most of the letters have been transcribed and translated by the E Ma Project between 2000 and 2012. The transcriptions/translations are attached to the item records where available as Microsoft Word documents along with digital copies of the corresponding letter. For more information about the E Ma Project, see MS-Group-2215 and MS-Group-2194. The larger series of English-language letters (series 1) is organised alphabetically. Most of the English-language letters have been transcribed, and these transcripts are in series 14, organised chronologically. McLean, born in Scotland's Inner Hebrides islands in 1820, arrived in New Zealand in 1840, and became fluent in the Maori language. In early 1844 he became a Protector of Aborigines in Taranaki, where he resolved disputes between Maori and settlers and gained a deep knowledge of Maori culture and customs. When George Grey abolished the Aboriginal Protectorate Department in 1846, McLean was appointed a police inspector in Taranaki, and as of 1848 was a land purchase agent, eventually becoming head of the Native Land Purchase Department. In 1856, McLean was appointed Native Secretary, and in 1863, General Government Agent in Hawkes Bay. In 1866 he was elected to Parliament as the Member for Napier, and in 1869 became Native and Defence Minister in the Fox government. In this role he drafted the Native Land Act 1873, a major reform of Maori land law. McLean received a knighthood in 1874, and continued to perform various official duties until his death in 1877. Quantity: 1149 folder(s) and volumes. 16 Linear Metres. Physical Description: Holographs, mss, typescripts and printed matter Finding Aids: See inventory for MS-Papers-0032 available on microfilm. Use MS-Copy-Micro-0535-001 An earlier listing of the collection is available in the Alexander Turnbull Library.. Provenance: The main part of the papers was received as a donation from Lady McLean, the widow of Sir Donald's son, R D D McLean, over the period from 1938 to the early 1950s. The remainder was purchased at Sothebys in 1969. Donor/Lender/Vendor - Donated by Lady McLean, 1938-1952; Purchase, London, 1969. Transfers: To Cartographic Collection - 53 maps and plans. Processing information: Letters described to piece level
Additional description
Alternative form available: Collection microfilmed. Use MS-Copy-Micro-0535, MS-Copy-Micro-0726 and MS-Copy-Micro-0735
Access restrictions
No access restrictions
1149 folder(s) and volumes, 16 Linear Metres, Business correspondence, Personal correspondence, Reports, Financial records, Invitations, Manuscripts, Holographs, mss, typescripts and printed matter
There are 221 sub-groups.
There are 3,898 items in total.
See original record

Click to request to view this item, access digital version (if available), and see more information.


There are 3,898 items in this group.
Date: 28 Aug-11 Sep 1851 From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: A personal diary in which McLean describes his marriage to Susan Strang,his wedding day, and his happiness and contentment afterwards. The wedding was in Wel...
Inward letters - John Morgan
Date: 1847-1861 From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: 29 letters written from Otawhao and undated note from Piripi. Includes piece-level inventory Quantity: 1 folder(s).
Inward letters - D M Luckie
Date: 1872-1876, nd From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: 14 letters and memos written from Wellington & Auckland, 1872-1876 & undated Quantity: 1 folder(s).
Hawke's Bay. McLean and J D Ormond, Superintendents - Finance papers
Date: 1863-1876 From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: Quantity: 1 folder(s).
Inward letters - Surnames, Loc - Log
Date: 1840, 1856-1876 From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: Correspondents: John Lockett, Nelson, 1856-1871 (8 letters); George D Lockhart, Christchurch, 1866 (1 letter); W Lockwood, Wairao Opouiti, 1866-1869 (2 lett...
Letter from Rapata Wahawaha to McLean
Date: 6 Jan 1871 From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: Quantity: 1 piece (3 pages on 1 leaf).
Letter from Ana Kaihau to McLean
Date: 32 Jul 1861 From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: Written from Mangere Quantity: 1 piece (1 page on 1 leaf).
Date: 16 Mar-2 May 1851 From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: Contains diary entries describing McLean's land purchase activities at Ahuriri, and his meetings with Maori owners. There are descriptions of the Ahuriri pla...
Diary and notes
Date: Nov 1856, Jan-Feb 1857 From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: Most of the volume contains diary entries and notes relating to a visit by McLean to Whangarei and Kaipara. His entries describe meetings with the Ngati What...
Inward letters - Surnames, Lai - Lal
Date: 1859-1860, 1870, n d From: McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers Description: Correspondents: P Laing, `The Club', 1870 (1 letter); M Lally, 1859-1860 & undated (3 letters) Quantity: 1 folder(s).