a family story

John Roxborogh


This is a family history of a family of McKenzies from Achindrean north of Ullapool on the West Coast of Scotland who migrated to New Zealand in the 1870s.
    It traces the background of these crofters and shepherds and tells the story the first generations of their descendant. The original research was carried out by my mother Cathie Roxborogh for the family reunion of the descendants of Alexander and Ann, held in Feilding in January 1990. Cathie died in November 2007.
    Chapters relating to the Scottish background and to the story of their son Roderick were earlier compiled as “Roderick McKenzie and Margaret Cameron: The First Generation” and a limited number produced to mark the dedication of their gravestone in Waipukerau on Easter Saturday, 30 March 2002.
    The story now includes sections relating to other of Alexander and Ann’s children who came to New Zealand, Donald, Catherine, Isabella and Alexander.
    Like earlier versions it is offered to members of the family in the hope that they will enjoy these stories of their ancestors, recognise traits of personality which they may have thought were unique, and be inspired in their time to make the most of the opportunities and challenges that life presents.
    It is not possible to mention or to adequately thank all those who have assisted in many different ways in the preparation of this book, but Cathie wanted to acknowledge the assistance she received, factual and anecdotal, practical and philosophical, from MacKenzie descendants and many others.
    Special mention must be made of those such as Nan Bell, Cissie Billett and Anne Robertson whose memories stretched well back along the family tree.
    Other descendants who have been of special help include Murray Robertson, Don McKenzie, Elsie Campbell, Dashwood MacLean and the late Beverly Jones who died just a short time before the Reunion in January 1990 she had so wanted to see.
    The staff of libraries and research institutions in a number of countries were endlessly helpful, efficient and courteous including those at the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington; Fielding Public Library; La Trobe University Library, Melbourne; Mitchell Library, Glasgow; Mortlock Library of South Australiana, Adelaide; Morrinsville Public Library, National Archives, Wellington; Scottish Record Office, Edinburgh; State Library of South Australia, Adelaide; Ullapool Library; and the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh. Dr Alison Sheradan of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum of Scotland and Dr Malcolm Bangor-Jones, University of Dundee were of special help.
    Other individuals among the many to whom we are indebted for personal help and interest are Mrs Helen MacLeod of Ullapool, Mr Kenneth MacLeod of Inverness, Mr W G MacLeod of Strathkanaird, Miss M MacLeod of Glasgow, Mrs K Stewart of Rhue; Mr T Bryan of Strathkanaird and Mrs Florence Kinnear of Edinburgh.
    Numbers of people lent family photos and other relics of bygone ages which helped in the leap of understanding across the years. Thanks are due to those who have granted permission for the use of copyright material, in particular those who generously did so without charge. This has been acknowledged in captions and footnotes. If any have escaped my attention, please accept a sincere apology.
    I apologise for the errors and omissions which are bound to have occurred, and I would be happy to hear of corrections for the record.
    It has been a privilege to at length bring this project of my late mother towards a conclusion. Keeping in touch with family members brought her great joy, and her own story from her childhood on the family farm in Tatuanui to her years as a teacher, exchange teacher in Sussex, Fulbright Scholar in New York, Teachers College Lecturer in Dunedin and School Inspector in Northland and the Waikato, not to mention book collector, gardener, and grandmother, will be included in due course.


John Roxborogh


October 2011