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MR. DAVID M CLAREN

A DEVOTED CITIZEN

Mr. David McLaren,-a'former member of Parliament for Wellington East, and a former Mayor of Wellington, died last night in the Wellington Public Hospital. Mr. McLaren, who at one time was a prominent figure in the Labour movement, gave many ■ years of devoted service to the interests of the City of Wellington.

Born in Glasgow in Mr. McLaren was a boot operative by trade, and became associated with the trades union movement soon after his arrival in New Zealand, throwing himself with great earnestness into the struggle to

improve the lot of the lower-paid worker. His voice and pen were always at the service of the masses, and ia due time he became one of the acknowledged leaders of the Labour movement in this city. Those were the days before the advent of the Federation of Labour and the rise of the extremist element in the Labour movement. Always staunchly firm on matters of principle, Mr, McLaren was one of the most sincere types of Moderate Labour advocate, and he spurned the doctrines of class hatred and revolutionary Socialism and Syndicalism which began to be preached in this country a little while before the Great War. Possibly his warmhearted Scottish nature may have largely accounted for this, because as an ardent lover pf the writings of Robert. Burns he was ever ready to acknowledge that "a man's a man for a' that."

For some years Mr. McLaren, was secretary of the Wellington Waterside Workers' Union, and from 1908 to 1911 he sat in the House of Representatives as Labour member for Wellington East. For eleven years, from 1901 to 1912, he was a member of the Wellington City Council, and from 1912 to 1913 he was Wellington's, .first and Labour, Mayor. In iaddition; he was^for twelves years a member of the Wellington Hospital Board. It was only by much expenditure of effort and sacrifice of personal comfort that Mr. McLaren forged his way upwards in the Labour movement. Hq read widely, studied hard, and wrote much—often l?y candlelight into late hours at night—and his labours were made none the less by reason of the fact that he suffered from bad eyesight. Of outward appearance he was of solemn mien but inwardly he possessed a fund of good humour, enjoyed a good joke, and was never even above telling one against the Scot, true and loyal Scot though he was. During the Qreat War Mr. McLaren was appointed a member of the Military Service Board.' He was also a member of the War Relief Association from its inception early in 1914, and during a subsequent long association with it he gave faithful service in the assistance of needy ex-servicemen,, Scope was found for his further usefulness in public life when he became a member of the Influenza Epidemic Commission, 1918.

The attitude of Labour organisations towards industrial and national problems in the later stages of the war and in the years immediately after the conflict found Mr. McLaren out of sympathy with the trend the movement was taking and he left it. He became associated with the New Zealand Welfare League, and devoted much time and effort to matters of civic and national organisation. Never at any time did his interest in the land of his birth flag, and he often gave addresses on Burns and matters pertaining to Scotland. He was an enthusiastic member of the Burns Club. Mr. McLaren wrote verse of no mean

order, bespeaking a close knowledge and love of his fellow-men.

Mr. McLaren is survived by his wife, and a daughter, now resident in London.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19391104.2.146.1

Bibliographic details

MR. DAVID MCLAREN, Evening Post, Volume CXXVIII, Issue 109, 4 November 1939

Word Count
605

MR. DAVID MCLAREN Evening Post, Volume CXXVIII, Issue 109, 4 November 1939

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