Search billions of records on



Christina Leel was born in Fraserborough, Scotland in 1880, the daughter of John and Ann Leel nee Sellar. When she was two, the family moved to Glasgow. Christina began her working life at Pettigrew and Stevenson, a large general store, and then went out on her own, opening a small grocery shop, while her Imperial Army husband Sergeant-Major James Grant MacRae, was in the service.


In 1912, after the tragic loss of their first born child at the age of five, Christina and James elected to bring others of their young family to settle in New Zealand, for the first year or so in Wellington, where they were in business, and in Hawera from the beginning of 1914.  At the outbreak of war James was recalled from the reserve and in 1918 when hostilities ceased the Regent Street venture was opened and later a branch at Ohawe Beach which subsequently was disposed of.  In 1927 when her husband died six months after returning from a trip to Scotland, Christina was left to carry on alone.


In addition to running the business, and bringing up a family, she identified herself with many organisations in the service of the community, and was an executive member of the Hawera Retailers' Association for many years and a member of the committee of the Hawera Aero Club of which she was one of the founders and an honorary life member.  In 1930 Christina returned to Scotland with her family for a visit.


In the war years she and her daughter Marion carried on the business under difficulties

while her two sons were overseas.  Upon their return Christina handed the management over to them, but continued to be active in the shop until her death. She had been in business in Hawera for over 30 years at the time of her death.


Christina Leel MacRae died on the 8 December 1953 at Hawera aged 73 years.



Obituary "Hawera Star" 9 Dec 1953