James Macandrew (1819(?) – 25 February 1887) was a New Zealand ship-owner and politician. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1853 to 1887 and as the last Superintendent of Otago Province.

Bust of James Macandrew outside Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin

Early life


Macandrew was born in Scotland, probably in Aberdeen, where he was baptised on 18 May 1819.[1]

He became active in the Free Church of Scotland, and from there, in the proposed colonisation of Otago (which was being advocated by the Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland, later the Otago Association). In partnership with his brother-in-law William Reynolds, Macandrew bought a schooner, loaded it with cargo, and set sail for Otago with his family. He arrived in January 1851.[2]

Still working in partnership with his brother-in-law, Macandrew immediately became a major figure in the business community of Dunedin. Reynolds, his brother-in-law, began to build up a shipping business, while Macandrew himself established a trading firm in the city. The partners later established a steamer service between Dunedin and Melbourne, Australia. The two soon became very wealthy.

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1853–1855 1st Town of Dunedin Independent
1855–1858 2nd Town of Dunedin Independent
1859–1860 2nd Town of Dunedin Independent
1865–1866 3rd Bruce Independent
1866–1870 4th Clutha Independent
1871–1875 5th Port Chalmers Independent
1875–1879 6th City of Dunedin Independent
1879–1881 7th Port Chalmers Independent
1881–1884 8th Port Chalmers Independent
1884–1887 9th Port Chalmers Independent

Macandrew was one of six representatives for the Dunedin Country electorate in the first Otago Provincial Council (1853–1855).[3] He represented the Central electorate in the second provincial council (1855–1859), and the Port Chalmers electorate in the fourth provincial council (1863–1867).[4] Macandrew was Superintendent of Otago Province from 1860 to 1861, and again from 1867 until abolition in 1876.[5] He was Speaker of Otago Province twice (1853–1854, and 1856–1859).[6] From January to November 1854, he was on the council's executive.[7]

When it was formed, Macandrew was elected to the New Zealand Parliament, representing the Town of Dunedin electorate. In Parliament, he fought what he saw as a bias towards the northern provinces (Auckland and Wellington) at the expense of his own Otago. He also defended the practice of opening Parliament with prayers (describing them as a necessary "acknowledgement of dependence on the Divine Being"), and lobbied that all Parliamentary debates be published.

He remained in Parliament until his death on 24 February 1887, having served in nine separate terms for the electorates. He first served for Town of Dunedin 1853–1858 (he resigned on 2 November 1858). He successfully contested a 14 January 1859 by-election in the same electorate[8] and served until the end of the parliamentary term in 1860. Next, he served in the Bruce electorate 1865–1866, followed by Clutha 1866–1870, Port Chalmers 1871–1875 and City of Dunedin 1875–1879. His last term was in Port Chalmers again from 1879 to 1887, when he died.

He was Minister of Works from 5 March 1878 to 8 October 1879. For his last six and a half years in Parliament, he held the title of Father of the House, as the longest continuously serving MP.

Personal life


Macandrew and his wife had four daughters and four sons. One son, Dr Herbert Macandrew, became medical superintendent of the Seaview Asylum in Hokitika.[9]

He died as a result of an accident in Dunedin.[9]



The town of Macandrew Bay on the Otago Peninsula is named after James Macandrew, and Dunedin's former main sporting venue, Carisbrook is named after his former home in the city.

Macandrew Road in Port Chalmers is named after him.[10]

Macandrew is buried at Macandrew Bay Cemetery.[11]


  1. ^ Olssen, Erik (22 June 2007). "Macandrew, James 1819? – 1887". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  2. ^ Hall, David Oswald William (1966). "MACANDREW, James". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Election of the provincial council for the Country District". Otago Witness. No. 124. 1 October 1853. p. 2. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  4. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 221.
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 215.
  6. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 217.
  7. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 218.
  8. ^ "ELECTION OF A MEMBER FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES". Otago Witness. No. 372. 15 January 1859. p. 5. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Death of Mr James Macandrew". Otago Witness. 4 March 1887. Retrieved 23 April 2021 – via PapersPast.
  10. ^ Church, Ian (1994). Port Chalmers and its People (Hardback). Dunedin: Otago Heritage Books. p. 183. ISBN 978-09-0877-496-8.
  11. ^ "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 13 December 2014.


  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer.
Political offices
Preceded by Superintendent of Otago Province
Succeeded by
Preceded by Provincial Councils abolished
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Town of Dunedin
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bruce
Served alongside: Arthur John Burns
Succeeded by
New constituency Member of Parliament for Clutha
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Port Chalmers
Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Father of the House
Succeeded by