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Walter Clarke Buchanan

Sir Walter Clarke Buchanan (20 June 1838 – 19 July 1924) was a New Zealand politician who became a member of the Reform Party that formed in 1909. Despite never being appointed as a minister, he was an influential politician and a strong advocate for farming interests.

Walter Clarke Buchanan
Walter Clarke Buchanan, 1882.jpg
Walter Clarke Buchanan in 1882
Born(1838-06-20)20 June 1838
Kilmodan, Agyllshire, Scotland
Died19 July 1924(1924-07-19) (aged 86)
Masterton, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
OccupationPolitician, farmer

Early lifeEdit

Buchanan was born in 1838 in Kilmodan, Argyllshire, Scotland. He was the son of the farmer Donald McChananich and of his wife Janet Clarke. He was baptised under McChananich, the Gaelic version of Buchanan.[1] He attended Greenock Academy,[2] and moved to Australia at the age of 18, where he became a farmer. Around 1863 he moved to New Zealand.[1]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1881–1884 8th Wairarapa South Independent
1884–1887 9th Wairarapa South Independent
1887–1890 10th Wairarapa Independent
1890–1893 11th Wairarapa Independent
1893–1896 12th Wairarapa Independent
1896–1899 13th Wairarapa Independent
1902–1905 15th Wairarapa Independent
1908–1909 17th Wairarapa Independent
1909–1911 Changed allegiance to: Reform
1911–1914 18th Wairarapa Reform

Buchanan entered politics in 1881, representing first Wairarapa South from 1881 to 1887, and then Wairarapa from 1887 to 1899, 1902 to 1905 and 1908 to 1914. He was in Parliament for much of the next 33 years, losing three elections.[3]

In the four general elections between 1881 and 1890, he always beat Henry Bunny,[4][5][6][7] who had represented the Wairarapa electorate continuously since an 1865 by-election.[3]

He lost Wairarapa to J. T. Marryat Hornsby, the frequent Liberal Party candidate for the electorate, in 1899, won it back in 1902, lost it in 1905 and won it back in 1908. He finally lost the seat to Hornsby in 1914.[8]

In the House, he was a staunch conservative voice, and a diehard opponent of the Liberal government of Richard Seddon.

Buchanan was knighted in 1913[3] and appointed to the Legislative Council in 1915, where he served until his death in 1924.[9] Despite his long experience in politics, he was never appointed a Minister (partly because the Liberal Party was in power as from 1891 to 1914).[3]


Buchanan died on 19 July 1924 of heart failure following a car crash. He had never married.[1] He was buried at Clareville Cemetery, Carterton.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Hamer, David. "Buchanan, Walter Clarke". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Greenock Academy & associated Primary Schools",
  3. ^ a b c d Scholefield 1950, p. 98.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, pp. 186–187.
  5. ^ "The General Election, 1884". National Library. 1884. p. 2. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  6. ^ "The General Election, 1887". National Library. 1887. p. 2. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  7. ^ "The General Election, 1890". National Library. 1891. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  8. ^ Scholefield 1950, pp. 98, 115.
  9. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 74.
  10. ^ "Cemeteries search". Carterton District Council. Retrieved 11 October 2014.


  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Wairarapa South
Constituency abolished
In abeyance
Title last held by
Henry Bunny, George Beetham
Member of Parliament for Wairarapa
Succeeded by
J. T. Marryat Hornsby
Preceded by
J. T. Marryat Hornsby