The Papers of Sir Donald McLean, 1820-1877
Donald McLean (1820-1877) was arguably the most influential figure in mid-19th century New Zealand history. He was a dominant figure in relations between Māori and the Government during this tumultuous period. More about Donald McLean.
This website presents digitised copies of selected series from the papers of Donald McLean held at the Alexander Turnbull Library. More about the scope and contents of the McLean papers.
The papers have been arranged into series, according to normal archival practice. Series are groups of documents with a common provenance that have been created as part of a particular activity or share the same format. More about the arrangement and custodial history of the McLean papers.
Series 1 - Letters written to Donald McLean (in English)
A large series of 14,500 letters, from many hundreds of letter writers. They mainly relate to McLean's activities as a public servant and politician, but also include family correspondence and correspondence relating to the management of his Hawke's Bay estate. Find out more.
Series 2 - Letters written to Donald McLean (in Māori)
This series comprises almost 3,000 letters written to McLean by Māori from throughout New Zealand. It is the largest surviving group of 19th-century letters in Māori. Find out more.
Series 3 - Donald McLean's letter books
Most of the letters in this series relate to McLean's earlier career. He kept the earliest letter book when he was Sub-Protector at Taranaki. Later letter books cover his other official roles, but also include some private letters. Find out more.
Series 4 - Drafts and fragments of letters written by Donald McLean
This series comprises folders of drafts and fragments of letters written by McLean, spanning most of his career. They complement the letterbooks in series 3. Find out more.
Series 5 - Donald McLean's diaries and notebooks
Throughout his career McLean made extensive use of little notebooks for diary entries and notes of his activities. Find out more.
Series 6 - Telegrams to and from Donald McLean
From 1869 McLean was able to make use of the telegraph to communicate with officials and politicians. Find out more.
Series 7 - Donald McLean's official papers
This series comprises the working papers McLean created and kept as part of his official duties. It includes official correspondence, reports, draft speech and report notes. Find out more.
Series 8 - Maps
This series comprises manuscript maps relating particularly to McLean's official land purchase activities and other Government activities, as well as his private land dealings. Find out more.
There are 50 items in this series.
Series 9 - Letters written to Donald McLean by family members
This series comprises letters to McLean from his wife, siblings, son and other relatives. It includes letters from his wife Susan (who died giving birth to their only child, Douglas), Douglas, and his father-in-law, Robert Strang. Other letters are from Donald McLean's siblings Catherine, Annabella, John, Archibald and Alexander. Find out more.
Series 13 - Other papers
This series comprises various items including research notes on Māori topics, invitations and other ephemera from McLean's social and political life, and a file about his death. Find out more.
There are 66 items in this series.
- Donald McLean, 1820-1877
- Scope and Contents
- Arrangement and Custodial History
- Series 1 - Letters written to Donald McLean (in English)
- Series 2 - Letters written to Donald McLean (in Māori)
- Series 3 - Donald McLean's Letter Books
- Series 4 - Drafts and fragments of letters written by Donald McLean
- Series 5 - Donald McLean's diaries and notebooks
- Series 6 - Telegrams to and from Donald McLean
- Series 7 - Donald McLean's official papers
- Series 8 - Maps
- Series 9 - Letters written to Donald McLean by family members
- Series 13 - Other papers
- Transcriptions and Translations