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The Beginning of Clan Fraser Society of New Zealand

By Convenor Allistair Macdonald Fraser

When I was visiting Sydney, Australia in December 1992, I was fortunate to meet the Commissioner of the Clan Fraser Society of Australia, Max Fraser-Byass, with whom I had an interesting discussion. He explained the pros and cons of Clan Fraser Societies established throughout the world in Australia, Canada, the USA and Scotland/the United Kingdom, but not in New Zealand. I was quite surprised as I did not know there was not one. At Max's suggestion, he proceeded to inundate me with scores of documents and data regarding how to proceed to start and establish New Zealand's own Clan Fraser Society, as I had mentioned I would be keen to do so.

Back home in Christchurch, N.Z. at the beginning of January, I proceeded to make enquiries to ascertain whether there was a Clan Fraser Society or not and was heartened to find there was not. I started writing a lot of letters to Clan Societies overseas (by slow mail) and researching.

I wrote to the late Lord Lovat, the famous hero of WW2, who commanded the Commandos of that period, and he told me to write to Lady Saltoun, Chief of the Whole Name and Arms of Fraser the world over, which I did. I told her of my interest in establishing a Clan Fraser Society in New Zealand. The gracious Chief replied saying how pleased she was about my intentions, and asked about my Scottish heritage. I gladly told her and she replied how impressed she was and said she was happy to appoint me Commissioner of the Clan Fraser Society of New Zealand.

I was very fortunate to be advised to get in touch with Donald McFarlane, the Chairman of the Clan McFarlane Society and when I did I met a person who had an immense knowledge of Scottish history. He helped me tremendously in my research, indeed, I was overwhelmed with his help.

Donald also advised me to contact James A. Fraser, President of the Canterbury Caledonian Society, which I did. This meeting turned out to be the best happening I could have wished for. From then on, thanks to his wonderful help and ideas, the Clan Fraser Society of New Zealand was formed and inaugurated on 11th August 1993, with James as co-founder.

Because of a lot of advertising in the news media throughout both islands of New Zealand, there were 54 members present at the inaugural night, and a great night it turned out to be! What was the icing on the cake was that Chris Stevens, Pipe Major of the Caledonian Society Pipe Band, composed a pipe tune especially for the Clan Fraser Society of New Zealand and played it on the foundation night of the Society. We owe Chris many thanks for contributing it.

Allistair Macdonald Fraser