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David McLaren (politician)

David McLaren (1872 – 3 November 1939) was a Mayor of Wellington and Member of Parliament in New Zealand.

Early years

Born in Glasgow, Scotland and an operative in the boot trade. He enjoyed the poetry of Robert Burns and was member of the Burns Club.[1]

On arriving in Wellington McLaren became involved in the Union movement seeking to improve the lot of lower paid workers. McLaren was Secretary of the Wellington Wharf Labourers Union in New Zealand.[2] He was considered a moderate socialist.

He was a member of the Wellington City Council for 11 years from 1901 to 1912 and was elected Mayor of Wellington from 1912 to 1913. McLaren was also member of the Hospital Board for 12 years. During World War I McLaren was appointed to the Military Service Board, and also served on the War Relief Association from its inception in 1914. At the end of the war he was appointed to the Influenza Epidemic Commission.

Member of Parliament

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
–1911 17th style="font-size:smaller; white-space:nowrap; background:" |

David McLaren won the Wellington East electorate in 1908 on the second ballot, for the Independent Political Labour League (IPLL).[3] In 1911 he was defeated by the Conservative candidate, Alfred Newman, by 65 votes. At the 1914 contest, McLaren was again unsuccessful, this time by 48 votes.

McLaren became estranged from the Labour Party during World War I. He was concerned about the rise of militant elements within the party.[4] McLaren organised the wartime Welfare League and through this was associated with Edward Kellett.

Died on 3 November 1939 at Wellington Public Hospital. He was survived by his wife and daughter who were living in London.


  • No Mean City by Stuart Perry (1969, Wellington City Council) includes a paragraph and a portrait or photo for each mayor
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Wilford
Mayor of Wellington
Succeeded by
John Luke
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