James Craigie

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James Craigie
James Craigie.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Timaru
In office
1908 – 1922
Preceded by William Hall-Jones
Succeeded by Frank Rolleston
Personal details
Born (1851-09-07)7 September 1851
Coupar Angus, Perthshire, Scotland
Died 17 August 1935(1935-08-17) (aged 83)
Kingsdown, South Canterbury, New Zealand
Political party Liberal

James Craigie (7 September 1851 – 17 August 1935) was Member of Parliament for the Timaru electorate in the South Island of New Zealand and a member of the New Zealand Legislative Council. He was also Chairman of the South Canterbury Health Board, Chairman of the Timaru Harbour Board, a Timaru Borough Councillor and Mayor of Timaru.

Early life

Craigie was born in Coupar Angus, Perthshire, Scotland on 7 September 1851.[1][2]

He came to New Zealand in 1867 with his parents, James and Agnes Craigie.

Craigie and his family landed in Dunedin, where he remained for several years after completing an apprenticeship as a painter and decorator.

Move to Timaru

Craigie moved to Timaru in 1873 where he started a glass and house decoration business. He also opened a large home decoration shop in Cains Terrace, Timaru. He subsequently merged his business with a Dunedin firm and it became known as Smith & Craigie. The merged business would ultimately become Smith & Smith, a company which continues to operate throughout New Zealand.

As his business success grew, Craigie purchased a large farm in Kingsdown, about 5 km south of Timaru, where he built a substantial house, Craigielea. Craigielea was subsequently destroyed by fire.

Craigie served on the South Canterbury Health Board for nine years, serving the last several years as Chairman.

He also served as Chairman of the Timaru Harbour Board for four years during which time significant progress was made in the development of the Port of Timaru.

Election to the Timaru Borough Council

Craigie served on the Timaru Borough Council

Mayor of Timaru

Craigie was Mayor of Timaru for ten years from 1902 to 1912.[3]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1908–1911 17th Timaru Liberal
1911–1914 18th Timaru Liberal
1914–1919 19th Timaru Liberal
1919–1922 20th Timaru Independent Liberal

James Craigie represented the Timaru electorate in the New Zealand House of Representatives for 14 years from 1908 to 1922.[4]

Independent Liberal

In the 1919 election, Craigie broke from the Liberal Party and stood as an Independent Liberal or Progressive Liberal.[5][6]

On 1 June 1923, Craigie was appointed to the Legislative Council. He served for one term until 31 May 1930 and was not re-appointed.[7]

In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.[8]

Admirer of Robert Burns

Craigie was an enthusiastic admirer of Robert Burns and was at one-time regarded as New Zealand's leading authority on Burns.

Craigie was an Overseas Vice President of the Robert Burns World Federation.

In 1931, Craigie delivered a lecture to the Wellington Burns Club entitled "The Humanity of Robert Burns".

Craigie provided funds for the erection in the Timaru Botanic Gardens of a statute of Robert Burns.


James Craigie died at his home in Kingsdown on 17 August 1935. He is buried in the Craigie Family Plot in Timaru Cemetery.


Craigie was a generous benefactor to his adopted hometown of Timaru.

He provided the chimes for the Timaru Town Clock in 1913. This was initially hung in the Chief Post Office but in 1933 it was moved to the Timaru Council Building, which had been constructed during Craigie's tenure as Mayor.

Craigie provided the money for the oak trees planted in (what was to become known as) Craigie Avenue, Timaru now part of New Zealand State Highway 1.

Upon his death, Craigie donated a C.F. Goldie painting entitled "Memories" to the people of Timaru. The painting can now be seen at the Aigantighe Art Gallery in Wai-iti Road, Timaru.

His descendants planted a tree in his honour in Craigie Avenue at Easter, 1994.


  1. ^ Scholefield 1940, p. 180.
  2. ^ "Scotland, select births and baptisms, 1564–1950". Ancestry.com Operations. 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  3. ^ Scholefield 1940, p. 181.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 191.
  5. ^ Bassett 1982, p. 66.
  6. ^ Wood 1996, p. 89.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 151.
  8. ^ "Official jubilee medals". The Evening Post. 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 2 July 2013.


  • Bassett, Michael (1982), Three Party Politics in New Zealand, 1911-1931, n.p.: Historical Publications, ISBN 0-86870-006-1
  • Craigie, James (1931), The Humanity of Burns, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Wellington Burns Club
  • Substance of a lecture delivered at the inaugural meeting of the Wellington Burns Club, in the Concert Chamber, Town Hall, Wellington, February 25, 1931. [from Te Puna record]. Craigie was an authority on Burns
  • Hamer, David (1988), The New Zealand Liberals: the years of power, 1891-1912, Auckland, [N.Z.]: Auckland University Press, ISBN 1-86940-014-3
  • A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, edited by G.H. Scholefield, Vol. 1, pp. 180–181, 1940, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
  • Wood, G. Antony (ed.) (1996), Ministers and Members in the New Zealand Parliament, Dunedin, [N.Z.]: Otago University Press, ISBN 1-877133-00-0
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Macintosh
Mayor of Timaru
Succeeded by
Tom Hawkey
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
William Hall-Jones
Member of Parliament for Timaru
Succeeded by
Frank Rolleston
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