Some Personal History

Signing new air services arrangements with Germany (myself on the right) in Auckland (March 2001)

I was born in Balclutha, South Otago, which is close to where my family was farming sheep and wheat just south of Clydevale on the banks of the Clutha River.

I became engaged on 7 September 2002 and married my English wife, Wendy, on 21 December 2002. We live near Wellington.



I did an honours degree in History and Political Studies (my dissertation was on "The Tongan Revolution, 1799-1810" and my supervisor was Associate Professor Gordon Parsonson)

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University of Otago (2001)


I have been working in Wellington since 1981, first with the Ministry of Transport, in the Air Services Policy Branch and the Public Affairs Branch, then with the Treasury, in the Communications Directorate. After seven years away, in 1996 I moved back to the Ministry of Transport to my current position, now in the Infrastructure and Services Home Team.


My great grandfather was William John Macilree, a chemist who married Charlotte McQuinton.

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My grandfather James Macilree with my father on his knee

My grandfather James Macilree (died 11 November 1938 aged 46) was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He was an engineer and served in the New Zealand Field Artillery during the First World War. He married my grandmother Mary Gwendolen Mosley (born 11 April 1894) in Wellington on 8 December 1921. Her father was Joseph Mosley who farmed in South Otago and played an active part in local body politics (died 14 August 1941 aged 78). His father was William Alfred Mosley (1817-1889) and he arrived in Otago in 1848 on the John Wickliffe.


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My grandfather Edgar Thomson Shand

My maternal grandfather was Edgar Thomson Shand (28 February 1891-15 January 1938). He was an farmer who owned Maritanga Station near Kokonga in Central Otago. He served in the Royal Flying Corps (17 Squadron) during the First World War. His parents were David Thomson Shand (died 23 October 1926) and Mary (nee Johnstone) Shand and his grandfather was William Shand (died 5 September 1870 aged 70(?)) who arrived in Otago in 1857 on the George Canning. My maternal grandmother was Margaret Rattray Douglas (5 April 1897- 25 November 1978), daughter of John Fleming Douglas and Marian Rankin.


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My father James Joseph Macilree drafting sheep (photo taken in the early 1960s)

My father James Joseph Macilree (28 June 1923-19 September 1998) served as a pilot in the RNZAF during the Second World War and farmed near Clydevale in South Otago before moving to Whangarei.

Last modified 13 Apr 2008

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