News Letter Februaryt 2012

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Clan Gunn Newsletter February 2012

Clan Gunn Society of New Zealand Inc


February 2012


President’s Patter

Petition for the Chiefship of Clan Gunn

Minutes of the 23rd  AGM

A Memorable Weekend at Whakatane

Scottish Heritage Council – Canterbury

Article – Clan Gunn prepares to receive Maori Honour” – John O’Groot Journal 21/10/2011

Dunedin Report – February 2012

Christchurch Report and Upcoming Events

The Gunns of Whataroa – Richard Rawstron

New Members

Engagement News

A Scottish/Chinese Wedding in New Zealand

Photo Gallery

If you are aware of any member that has not receive the Newsletter either by mail or email, please let me know at or 03 323 9011. Thank you. Editor

Council Members


President: Todd Wall

Vice President: John Sauer

Immediate Past President Val Donald Ph: 03 366 4476

Treasurer: Ian Gunn

Secretary: Marie Gunn

Membership Secretary: Kathy Sauer

Committee: Stuart Gunn

Kathy Sauer

Bonny Flynn

Joyce Shield

Julie Ferguson

Christine Wilson

Editor: Sue Gunn


A reminder that Clan Gunn’s genealogist is Margaret Godfrey : Ph: 03 487 6700 / Email: Margaret is only too wiling to help members find their ancestry.

Secretary: Marie Gunn, 121B Johns Road, Belfast, Christchurch 8051, Ph: 03 323 6608

President’s Patter – February 2012

I would like to express my sincere condolences to all who have lost a family member or friend over the past six months. It is a difficult time for anyone to deal with and I feel for you. My sympathies also go to all those who have been hospitalized or seriously ill, particularly John and Kathy Sauer when John had the misfortune to end up in Dunedin Hospital with what I believe was a leg or ankle injury just before Christmas.

Marie Gunn (Secretary), Sue Gunn (Newsletter Editor) and Kathy Sauer (Membership Secretary) are still doing a great job under very difficult circumstances with the ongoing after shocks in Christchurch. Again I would like to offer a big ‘Thank You’ to all of them. I know it can’t be easy. Let’s hope there’s an end in sight with all the rumblings and turmoil beneath the earth in Christchurch. We’re hearing all sorts of stories from so called experts telling us how long it’s going to be before they stop but I think it’s just guess work and nobody really knows for sure.

On a lighter note the International Clan Gunn Gathering takes place this year commencing in the Orkney Isles for three days and moving to Thurso in Caithness for six days. During this time there will be trips to various sites of interest to Clan Gunn members in both areas. There will also be a Ceilidh, the Halkirk Highland Games where we get to march with the other Clans and a formal dinner. The formal dinner takes place on the last evening of the Gathering with a speech from the Commander, Iain Gunn.

We have the largest contingent of New Zealanders going that have ever attended the International Gathering. There will be six from Dunedin, one from Christchurch and one, possibly two from Auckland. After the International Gathering we are all going to end up at the Pleasanton Highland Games near Sacramento in California which is one of the largest in America. It has over a hundred Vendors stalls alone.

We will be joined by another two from Dunedin, making ten or eleven of us in all taking part in the march of the Clans. We’ll be flying our new Clan Gunn Flag with “New Zealand” prominently displayed. It is the Scottish Saltire with a beautiful Clan Gunn badge in the centre and “New Zealand” underneath. It is a personal flag that I had made in America through Rich Gunn. I was also presented with a Guidon by our Commander during his visit to New Zealand to attend the Maori ceremony in Whakatane which Marie Gunn has written an article about in this Newsletter. The Guidon is the Chief’s personal banner that we can fly at all our gatherings to indicate that he is with us through his representative, usually the President or Commissioner.

Details of the International Gathering are included in this Newsletter and if anybody is interested in attending then it will be best to book your flights and accommodation as soon as you can.

It was unanimously agreed at the AGM in October 2011 that Life Membership should be conferred on Dianne Gunn-Giles for the outstanding service she provided with the work she did before establishing the Clan Gunn Society of New Zealand 23 years ago and the ongoing work that that entailed. Congratulations Dianne. You are to be applauded.

Please encourage family or friends to join the Clan. If you need any advice or help then please let either me or Marie Gunn know. Yours Aye

Todd Wall

President, Clan Gunn Society of New Zealand (Inc)

Petition for the Chiefship of Clan Gunn

Just before Christmas I received a message from Colonel James Gunn asking whether I would consider becoming one of 14 Clan Gunn officials to sign a petition for our Commander, Iain Gunn of Banniskirk to become our Chief.

I agreed to the signing and sent my part of the petition off to James Gunn and so did all the others involved from all over the world. This in turn was presented to the Lord Lyon of Scotland whose court deals with the granting of titles of this nature. Iain Gunn has all the necessary proven credentials which other claimants have not had to the Lord Lyon’s satisfaction so far. So now the way is relatively clear for Iain Gunn’s claim to proceed. He has held the title of Commander for over 30 years and has done the hard yards so to speak and in all our collective opinions deserves to be our Chief which Clan Gunn has not had for 200 years.

We are hoping that this Derbhfine or Family Convention will take place in Edinburgh during the period of our upcoming International Gathering this July enabling all the signatories to be there to sign any further documents as we will all be attending the Gathering.

I have been looking at the Lord Lyon’s website in Scotland and I have extracted the following information for your perusal:


A Petition was lodged at the Lyon Court last month seeking the convening of a Family Convention to recognise a Chief of Clan Gunn.   The Petition proposes that the current Commander, Iain Gunn of Banniskirk, be now recognised as Chief of the Name.   In accordance with the
Guidelines already posted regarding the holding of a Derbhfine or Family Convention the Lord Lyon intends to appoint a Supervising Officer in the near future. David Sellar Lyon

10 January 2012

This is the website if you would like to visit it yourselves:

Todd Wall

Minutes of the 23rd Annual General Meeting of

Clan Gunn Society of New Zealand

Held at Lindisfarne, Cannington, South Canterbury

30th October 2011

President Todd Wall welcomed everyone to the meeting. Speaking on behalf of all members Todd congratulated all who had been involved in any way with the very impressive rebuild of the Lindisfarne complex.

Present. Todd and Sheila Wall, Joyce Shield, Bonnie Flynn, John and Kathy Sauer, Viggo Nielsen, Bruce Stevenson, Joy Hunter, Margaret Stevenson, John and Heather Gunn, Julie Ferguson, Ray Ferguson, Bill Jamieson, Jan Wyllie, Christine Wilson, Murray Gunn, Marie Gunn.

Apologies were received from: Jessica Wilson, Maire Gunn, Pouroto Ngarapo, Carin Wilson, Ian and Lexie Gunn, Michael and Creena Gibbons, Wilson Daniel, Dianne Gunn Giles, Val Donald, Isabel Findlay, Richard Rawstron, Tony and Jan Rawstron, Glenda Fraser, Graeme Patterson, Bryan Fitzgerald, Stuart and Liz Gunn, Ray Ferguson, Jacob Gunn, Chris and Sue Gunn.

It was moved, seconded and agreed that apologies should be accepted.

The Minutes of the 2010 Annual General Meeting, which had been previously circulated, were accepted as a true and correct record. There were no matters arising from the minutes.

President`s Report: Todd Wall read his annual report. He welcomed all the new members who had joined the Clan in the past 12 months. A meeting was recently held in Auckland welcoming several new members. It was decided by Council that a Certificate of Life Membership should be awarded to Dianne Gunn Giles in recognition of her very long and valued service to Clan Gunn. Todd commented on the ongoing earthquakes in Christchurch and the effect on various members there. He congratulated Sue Gunn on the work she is doing with the Newsletter despite being abruptly moved from her office in the earthquake. Todd spoke for everyone in expressing his delight and the privilege at being back in the newly rebuilt Lindisfarne complex. He brought members up to date with the final arrangements with regard to the Dedication Ceremony which will take place in Whakatane between Ngati Awa and Clan Gunn on November 5th and 6th. Clan Gunn members from America and the United Kingdom will be joining us for that ceremony. Todd also explained the arrangements being made for the International Clan Gunn Gathering in Caithness and Orkney in July 2012. Arrangements are also in hand for several New Zealand members of Clan Gunn to travel to California to join with other Gunns at the Pleasanton Games in September 2012.

It was moved, seconded and agreed that the report be received.

Financial Report: Copies of the signed and reviewed Treasurer`s Report, Income and Expenditure Statement and the Balance Sheet were handed to members. Members commented on the excellent presentation and clarity of the reports and expressed their appreciation of the work done by Ian Gunn our Treasurer.

It was moved seconded and agreed that:

A. The sum of 50 pounds sterling should be paid to the Gunn Heritage Centre at Latheron, Caithness.

B. The subscription should remain the same as at present.

C. The President and Secretary be appointed as reviewers for the annual accounts.

It was moved, seconded and agreed that the Financial Accounts be received.

Election of Officers: The Secretary read a letter from Dianne Gunn Giles tendering her resignation from the Council. Todd Wall spoke of Dianne`s long association with Clan Gunn and her years as President. It was agreed that the resignation be accepted and a letter of deep appreciation be sent to Dianne.

Vice-President John Sauer then took over the chairmanship of the meeting and called for nominations for the office of President.

It was moved, seconded and agreed that Todd Wall be appointed President and he took over the chairmanship of the remainder of the meeting.

Vice-President John Sauer, Treasurer Ian Gunn and Secretary Marie Gunn were all elected unopposed.

The following members were nominated for the Council (6 members are required) : Kathy Sauer, Stuart Gunn, Mervyn Gunn, Joyce Shield, Bonnie Flynn, Julie Ferguson and Christine Wilson.

After a secret ballot those elected were Kathy Sauer, Stuart Gunn, Joyce Shield, Bonnie Flynn, Julie Ferguson and Christine Wilson.

General Business:
  • A request was made for members to let Sue Gunn have their e mail addresses if they are happy to have the Newsletter sent via e mail. It was pointed out that this relieves Sue of a significant amount of work and also reduces the cost of printing and postage.
  • Marie Gunn thanked all the members for the many cards and letters she received following Ben`s death.
  • Todd Wall suggested we consider a name for our Newsletter. The UK Clan Gunn Newsletter is called The Herald and the American Clan Gunn Newsletter is The Gunn Salute. Several names were put forward and after a vote it was agreed that the name of our Newsletter will be The Gunn Gazette.

Members were then warmly thanked for their attendance and participation.

2012 AGM: After some discussion it was decided to hold the 2012 AGM in Dunedin on Sunday October 28th.

The meeting closed at 11.15 am.

Marie Gunn


A Memorable Weekend at Whakatane

4th - 6th November 2011

Clan Gunn members will remember the articles written about the Highland Homecoming in Scotland in 2009 and in particular the presentation of a carving by members of the Ngati Awa tribe to our Commander Iain Gunn in memory of John Mahiti Wilson.

As a follow up to that event members of Clan Gunn worldwide were invited by members of the Ngati Awa tribe to a ceremony to be held at Whakatane in November of last year to further the relationship and understanding between Clan Gunn members and the Ngati Awa people.

Those attending were: Commander Iain and Mrs Bunty Gunn; Alan and Sally Robson (past Pres. Clan Gunn UK); Rich (Pres. Clan Gunn Soc of America) and his wife Linda; Chuck Jamieson (USA); Nancy and Brian Nagle (USA); Todd and Sheila Wall; Joyce Shield; Bonnie Flynn; Margaret Campbell; Mairi Gunn; Christine Wilson; Pouroto Ngaropo; Christian Wilson; Anthony Wilson; Nicholas Wilson; Clifford Wilson; Cathy Gunn; Valerie Gunn; Marie Gunn.

Our journey started on the Thursday (3rd November) evening in Auckland. We all met at Dukes Motel Conference Room for a formal welcome followed by a BBQ.

On Friday morning we were welcomed to Christine Wilson`s spacious home for breakfast and shortly afterwards boarded our coach. We were shown several places around Auckland which were important to the Ngati Awa people. We were informed of the extent of lands around Auckland and Northland which were previously belonged to Ngati Awa including One Tree Hill which we visited. We also visited the Mt Albert campus of Unitec Marae and later visited the grave of John Mahiti Wilson`s parents where flowers were laid. We then journeyed to Whakatane and enjoyed a welcome Dinner.

On Saturday morning we drove to the Whakatane Council Chambers where we received an official welcome from the Mayor and a member of the Executive Council. The Mayor mentioned the fact that his Grandmother was a Wilson and he was assured he would soon be receiving an invitation to join Clan Gunn along with a registration form. From there we drove to Taiwhakaea Marae to be received on to the Marae with great ceremony. We were also privileged to meet Pouroto`s wife Aroha and his Mother. There were speeches from various members of Ngati Awa as well as from Commander Iain Gunn, Alan Robson, Rich Gunn and Todd Wall. The whole ceremony was dignified and very moving. Following the ceremony we were escorted into their vast dining room accompanied by some amazing singing of welcome – a huge group of over a hundred people sang to us as we took our seats and again throughout the meal. We all felt extremely moved and honoured, not just by their singing, but by their warm welcome and indeed by the sumptuous meal they had provided for us.

After lunch we crossed the road to the Taiwhakaea cemetery and after a short ceremony a wreath was laid on the grave of John Mahiti Wilson. We then travelled by bus to the Mataatua Marae in Whakatane where we were welcomed with songs and chants by Pouroto`s family. It was a real pleasure meeting Pourotu and Aroha`s family The female members of the Clan then sang a bracket of songs honouring the culture and heritage of Scotland. Members of both Clan Gunn and the Ngati Awa tribe had expressed a desire to formalise their relationship and as many members of Ngati Awa are already members of Clan Gunn by blood, Clan Gunn members were honoured to be invited to become members of Ngati Awa. To this end a Letter of Acknowledgement and Understanding was discussed and prepared. It was then signed by Pouroto Ngaropo, Deputy Chairman, Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, Iain Gunn of Banniskirk, Commander of Clan Gunn; Todd Wall, President Clan Gunn, New Zealand; Alan Robson, Immediate Past President Clan Gunn UK and Richard Gunn, President Clan Gunn North America and Commissioner.

The day ended with a shared meal.

On Sunday 6th November we left our Motels early for a trip to Iramoko Marae which is set in the hills inland from Whakatane. Here we were once more accorded a warm welcome on to the Marae by Pouroto`s family and were privileged to meet his Father.

There was a short but moving ceremony of speeches and songs We were then shown around the Marae before enjoying a splendid lunch provided and served by Pouroto`s family. After lunch there was a Service of Worship which was followed by the exchange of gifts and finally a tree planting ceremony. A Pohutakawa tree was planted on behalf of the Ngati Awa and a Juniper tree on behalf of Clan Gunn. This ended our memorable stay in Whakatane and we said our `Goodbyes` with hugs and gratitude for their warm hospitality, and drove back to Auckland.

Marie Gunn

Scottish Heritage Council - Canterbury

Clan Gunn expresses its appreciation and extends a big thank you to
Val Donald, who for many years was the Clan Gunn Representative on the Scottish Heritage Council. John Sauer, the Clan Gunn’s Vice President, has stepped into this role as its Representative.

Dunedin Report – February 2012

September 2011

Our September Clan Gunn Gathering was held round Bonny Flynn’s house once more. Since Bonny’s husband Errol passed away her house has now become the centre for all of our Gatherings in Dunedin. After a delicious lunch forthcoming Gunn events were discussed. Six members were attending the Gathering at Whakatane.

Six members will be attending the International Clan Gathering in Scotland meeting up with our Secretary Marie Gunn and probably Christine Wilson as well. From Scotland we will all be travelling to California to join up with another two arriving from Dunedin. Rich and Linda Gunn will be hosting all of us and taking us on the March of the Clans at the Pleasanton Games which are one of the biggest in America, if not the biggest.

Our forthcoming Christmas Dinner was arranged followed by a five draw raffle.

AGM 2011

12 Dunedin members travelled to Lindisfarne for the AGM plus three from Christchurch, one from Auckland and one from central Canterbury. Heather and John Gunn who live close by Lindisfarne also joined us there together with their daughter Liz and her husband John. It was a lovely weekend with lots of laughs and camaraderie.

Christmas Dinner

Appropriately on 30th November, St Andrew’s Day, 29 Dunedin members Gathered for their annual Christmas Dinner at the Janet Cameron Hall in Green Island. The joined tables had been decorated in blue table cloths with Scottish Saltire flags down the centre topped with white and silver decorations and some traditional Christmas decorations completing the layout.

The evening commenced with a Haggis ceremony led by our piper, Ray Goodchild. This was followed by a most sumptuous meal which was provided by the St Barnabus Catering team. Everything was home cooked. The six desserts had everyone’s mouths watering. Entertainment was provided by Sylvia Woodhouse with good sing along music leading on to nearly everyone doing the Congo around the tables.

Christmas gifts were handed out by two wrap Angels (Joyce and Sheila). Great fellowship with lots of laughter sent us away with smiles and hugs for Christmas and the New Year. It was a fantastic evening.

A shot of the lovely laid out table.

Dunedin Members enjoying themselves

Sheila Wall

Christchurch Report

2 October 2011 – Kirkin’ o the Tartan – The Church service was well attended by the various Clans. It brought home to many that at a time of uncertainty and the many aftershocks being experienced, that friendship and clanship was important to see us through. 8 October 2011 – Pot Luck Lunch at Marie Gunn’s went well. It was also a special meeting as Richard Rawstron talked about his research and his recently published book “The Gunns of Whataroa”. Congratulations Richard! As mentioned on page 9, please contact Richard direct if you would like to purchase the book. 16 October 2011 – Ten Pin Bowling: Members gathered together for a lunch at Alvardo at noon prior to the Ten Pin Bowling challenge. As always, this annual event was keenly contested between the two Clans, even though most of us never go bowling at other times. Individual scores are tallied up and combined to give a ‘team total’ which is then divided by the number of players in the team to derive its average score. The team with the highest average score was, in this case, Clan Donald, although it appears to Clan Gunn that they had several “ring-ins” among their players. However, we had some promising individual scores in our team, with Chris Gunn, John Sauer and Sue Gunn taking top honours this year, so there’s still room for optimism for this year’s stoush on 17 June 2012.

Upcoming Christchurch Events - 2012

  • 18 March 2012 Weka Pass rail trip
  • 28 April 2012 Pot Luck Lunch
  • 17 June 2012 Lunch / Ten Pin Bowling
  • End July Games Evening
  • October 2012 Kirkin’ o the Tartan
  • Late Sept/Early October Open home at Chris Gunn’s for afternoon tea and to view his model railway layout
  • November/December Christmas Lunch

The Gunns of Whataroa”

Richard Rawstron

One of our Clan members, a very young 95 year old has recently published a book about the Gunn families who first lived and worked in Whataroa, Westland. This is an impressive and an important piece of work recording the history of a remote part of Westland and the families who made it their home. Richard`s late wife Jessie (nee Gunn) was born and raised in Whataroa, hence his interest in the area and the families who lived there.

Richard spent many years working on this project. His research was thorough and detailed. The book includes dozens of photographs of the families as well as detailed maps of the various areas, farms, tracks etc.

If you wish to purchase a copy of this book please communicate directly with Richard at 19A Bideford Place, Dallington, Christchurch 8061. Ph: 03 385-0910 or email at The cost of the book is $40.00 – please add $2.00 for postage.
Marie Gunn

New Members

We extend a very warm welcome to all new members including

Lesley Murray * Peggy Gunn * Alison Lee * Margaret Palleson * Janice Gunn

Kathy Sauer

Membership Secretary

Engagement News

The engagement is announced with great pleasure of Christine, daughter of Neil and Victoria Gunn, and Adrian son of John Thorburn and Brigitta Puls. Christine is the eldest grand-daughter of Marie and the late John Murray Gunn.

A Scottish-Chinese Wedding in New Zealand – September 2011 – By Chris Gunn

It’s not very often these days that Kiwis whose ancestry lies on the other side of the world decide to include recognition of their cultural heritage into the most important event of their lives – their wedding! David Gunn married Carolyn (nee Godfrey) on Saturday 3rd September 2011 (the day before the first anniversary of Christchurch’s first major earthquake in 16,000 years), and early in the planning stages he had agreed with the suggestion of his father Chris that it would be “really neat” to wear their new kilts. These had been expertly tailored the previous year by Val Donald, Immediate Past President of the Clan Gunn Society of New Zealand, from material imported directly from one of Loch Carron’s mills in Scotland. Carolyn’s mother Anne then mentioned that they are descended on the maternal line from the Sinclairs, whose roots lies deep in Caithness alongside the Gunns and several other highland clans. Over the centuries the Gunns and the Sinclairs had fought both against and alongside each other at various times, and inter-married as well – like many other Scottish clans throughout history. They also share a much older heritage, both clans being descended originally from Norse invaders who came to Scotland via the Orkney Islands, and through inter-marriage with the local Celts, acquired significant land holdings (and thereby power and influence) in the far north, mainly in Caithness.

So a distinctly Scottish flavour had emerged into the wedding plans. As a personal gift to the happy couple, Chris and Sue imported two “table runners” from Loch Carron for the head table at the reception – one in Modern Gunn, the other in Sinclair Hunting tartan. Next – what about a piper? Val’s daughter Ann Smith, President of the Canterbury Branch of the Scottish Heritage Council, kindly agreed to “do the honours”, thereby adding Clan Donald to the clans represented at the wedding. She piped the bride into the ceremony on arrival, and the bride and groom down the aisle after “tying the knot”. David’s best man was James Glasgow (!) and his groomsman was John McKirdy, whose father Don is the G.P. in Palmerston and a piper in the East Otago Pipe Band; the McKirdys are associated with Clan Stewart of the Glasgow region, and the island of Bute, one of Scotland’s “Western Isles”. After the wedding party returned from the official photographs, Don asked David if he could pipe the newly-weds into the reception, and Ann was happy to defer to him; by chance Don had brought his pipes with him!

The other main culture represented was, of course, Chinese, David’s mother Susan being born and raised in Singapore, and marrying Chris in May 1970 at St Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in the heart of Singapore. For David’s wedding, Sue had a fantastic suit tailored in the luckiest colour for the Chinese – deep red. Although Sue’s parents are both now deceased, we were delighted that her Mum’s younger sister Annie (now aged 90) was able to travel from Singapore with her daughter Shui Ken, Sue’s cousin. It’s also interesting to note that Sue’s father, Doctor Sivam (who retired as Medical Officer of Health in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia the same year we got married) did his post-graduate medical degree in Liverpool, so had a very good knowledge of that part of the world.

The wedding and reception was held at Rossendale Winery at Tai Tapu, and the official photographs were taken at the former Halswell Quarry nearby, now beautifully landscaped into a major recreational reserve, with native shrubs and trees forming a marked contrast with the rock cliff faces of the old quarry – themselves suggesting a common link with the granite-like mountains of Scotland. The forecast for the day was for strong sou’westers bringing rain, hail and possibly some sleet or light snow; in the event the day dawned fine and clear, and as the morning progressed became warm, sunny and completely calm – not even an unwelcome shake from Mother Nature to spoil the day. The daffodils and tree blossoms were in full bloom, and the birds, including several natives, were singing, contributing to an absolutely perfect day in a perfect setting.

So, on the day there were four main Scottish clans represented at Dave and Carolyn’s wedding: Gunn, Sinclair, Donald and Stewart (though probably many more among the guests, who came not only from around New Zealand but also Australia, Singapore and the U.K.), plus the Chinese culture which, it has to be acknowledged, traces its recorded history back several thousand years – long before the Gunns and Sinclairs invaded Scotland from the land of the Vikings!

Mike Godfrey, Anne Godfrey, Carolyn, David, Sue and Chris Gunn

The Gunn Family and Sue's cousin and Aunt from Singapore

Carolyn, David and Friends

Happy Parents

Kirkin’ o the Tartan – 2 October 2011

L-R: Helen Gunn, Val Donald, John Sauer, Marie Gunn and Kathy Sauer

L-R: Helen Gunn, Val Donald, Chris Gunn, John Sauer, Marie Gunn,Sue Gunn, Kathy Sauer, Carolyn Gunn and Samanta

Weekend at Whakatane 4 – 6 November 2011

Whakatane Council Chambers Clan Gunn Newsletter -Meeting of the four Presidents with the Mayor of Whakatane

At the Mataatua Marae - About to Sing
Laying a wreath at the grave of John Mahiti Wilson

Group outside the Motel in Whakatane