The Best Man Who Ever Served the Crown? : A Life of Donald McLean - Finalist Montana Biography Award 2008

Author(s): Ray Fargher

NZ History/Society

This monumental work of scholarship is the first full biography of one of the key actors in the drama of 19 th-century New Zealand land dealing. It fills a gaping hole in NZ historiography, and will be an enormously valuable resource for future writers and researchers. Donald McLean was born in Tyree in the Scottish Hebrides in 1820 and came to New Zealand in 1840. His first government appointment was to the 'Protectorate of Aborigines' in 1843, and he was to have a major public role until his death in 1877, as Land Purchase Commissioner, Native Minister, and major landowner in his own right. McLean was highly respected by Maori for his knowledge of Te Reo and respect for rank and protocol, and was closely involved in land dealings in the Taranaki and elsewhere that still have repercussions today. Highly regarded by politicians and settlers for his ability to get things done, he was also denounced after his death for having failed to open up the King Country to settlement.


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Shortlisted for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Biography Category 2008.

Ray Fargher's MA thesis in 1947 was about Donald McLean. He taught history in NZ secondary schools until his retirement, and has subsequently worked as a researcher and writer.

General Fields

  • : 9780864735607
  • : Victoria University Press
  • : Victoria University Press
  • : July 2007
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Ray Fargher
  • : Paperback
  • : 993.022092
  • : 436
  • : illustrations