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BUCHANAN, CATHERINE MARION (KATE)

 

Kate Buchanan was born in 1862 in Camperdowns, Victoria, Australia the daughter of Donald and Mary Buchanan nee Whyte. Kate was taken back to Scotland with her mother and two other children until in 1875, they rejoined their father in New Zealand where he had taken up farming in the Wairarapa with his brother, Sir Walter Buchanan.

 

In 1878, the Buchanans came to Hawera, residing for several years in Disraeli Street until the children had been educated, afterwards moving to a farm property at Ohangai. On the death of Mr Buchanan, Kate, with her mother and her sister Janet Clark Buchanan (Jessie) returned to Hawera, and in 1912, built a house at 301 South Road where the two sisters and mother lived until their deaths.

 

Soon after the outbreak of World War Two, Kate and Jessie Buchanan founded the Buchanan Trust by their joint personal gift of 20,000 to be used for the benefit of ex-servicemen, nurses and members of the mercantile marine, domiciled within South Taranaki, who suffered temporary or permanent disability as a result of their war service and also for the benefit of the children or widows of such persons. Subject to certain reservations at the discretion of the trustees, the whole of the fund was to be disposed of within 10 years of the declaration of peace.

 

The trustees were Messrs C G Trotter, W J McL'Dowie and F W Horner and up to December 1948, their administration had assisted 860 or more ex-servicemen and women, or the widows and dependants of deceased servicemen, by the payment of accounts towards the setting up of homes as well as disbursements for other purposes within the terms of the trust. At that stage 13,000 had been disbursed, mostly to people endeavouring to establish themselves on their gratuities alone, and very many appreciative letters in the hands of the trustees had been a source of quiet satisfaction to the Misses Buchanan that in this way they had played some part in the war effort of their country.

 

From her girlhood days a staunch adherent of St John's Presbyterian Church, Kate was most active in all the work of the church and in particular in missions and social welfare through the PWMU and PSSA respectively. The church has benefitted by gifts of substantial amounts, and there were also gifts to the YMCA and YWCA, Red Cross Society, Plunket Society, Salvation Army Boys' Home, Presbyterian Church Orphanages, Crippled Children Society and the Blind Institute. She was also a foundation member of the Hawera Women's Club. In 1951, her estate made a bequest of 15,000 towards the erection of the Community Centre as a district War Memorial.

 

Catherine Marion Buchanan died on 21 December 1948 at Hawera aged 86 years and is buried with her sister Jessie at the Hawera Cemetery.

 

SOURCES

Obituary "Hawera Star" 22 Dec 1948. Hawera District Centenary by A P C Bromley