Open main menu

John McKenzie (New Zealand politician)

Portrait of John McKenzie

Sir John McKenzie KCMG (6 October 1839 – 6 August 1901) was a New Zealand politician. He served as Minister of Lands and Agriculture in the Liberal Government of John Ballance.

Early lifeEdit

Palmerston, New Zealand. The McKenzie cairn is visible on the top of Puketapu, the hill to the right of the picture

McKenzie was born in Ardross, Scotland, and while young saw the hardships caused by the Highland Clearances. He arrived in Otago in 1860, working for Johnny Jones in Waikouaiti. He later farmed near Palmerston.[1]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1881–1884 8th Moeraki Independent
1884–1887 9th Moeraki Independent
1887–1890 10th Waihemo Independent
1890–1893 11th Waitaki Liberal
1893–1896 12th Waihemo Liberal
1896–1899 13th Waihemo Liberal
1899–1900 14th Waihemo Liberal

He first ran for election to the Otago Provincial Council in 1868 (for Waikouaiti), but was not elected (for Waihemo) until 1871.

From 1881 to 1900 he served in the New Zealand Parliament; for the Otago electorates of Moeraki, then Waihemo (1887), Waitaki (1890), and Waihemo again from 1893 to 1900, when he resigned due to ill-health.[2]

He served as Minister of Lands and Agriculture from 1891 to 1900 in the Liberal Government.[3] He oversaw many land reforms, favouring small family farmers and the opening up of land for closer settlement.[1] On 17 May 1901, he was appointed to the New Zealand Legislative Council.[4] He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in June 1901, on the occasion of the visit of TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary) to New Zealand,[5] and died of bladder cancer only six weeks later on 6 August 1901.[1]

There is a memorial cairn to McKenzie on top of Puketapu, a prominent hill close to Palmerston in Otago.[1] This cairn, erected in the 1920s, replaced an earlier cairn on another nearby hill, Pukehiwitahi, which was erected in 1902, but quickly fell into disrepair.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Brooking, Tom. "McKenzie, John - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  2. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 123.
  3. ^ Scholefield 1950, pp. 40–41.
  4. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 80.
  5. ^ "No. 27325". The London Gazette. 21 June 1901. p. 4182.
  6. ^ [1]


New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Thomas Young Duncan
Member of Parliament for Waitaki
Succeeded by
William Steward