Clan Chief’s Inauguration 2015

The Clan Davidson gathering in Christchurch 8-10 may 2015 and the inauguration of Grant Guthrie Gavidson,
3rd of Davidston as chief of Clan Davidson, 9th may 2015
The Clan Davidson Gathering

Our Gathering in 2015 was a very special occasion and saw a record attendance for the Inauguration of the new Chief. It also marked the first time we have held our Gathering in Christchurch. The city put on a great weekend for us with beautiful weather and a truly fabulous venue at Chateau in the Park. The location has something of a special connection for Clan Davidson because Hagley Park is just across the road from the hotel.

As you may recall from our article on the Deans brothers some years ago they were among the earliest European settlers in Canterbury, acquiring land and establishing a significant farming operation in the 1840’s. When the Canterbury Association sought to create an Anglican settlement in the South island in 1850 it acquired much of the land for the new city from the Deans estate. Charles Deans, the current senior statesman of the Deans family at this time, tells us that Hagley Park was created as bulwark between the Anglican settlers and the Presbyterian Deans clan out at Riccarton.

A truly impressive coterie of the Clan came together for the weekend. As well as Davidsons from all over NZ once again we were very happy to welcome Frank and Sue Davidson, and Avon Moffatt from Australia. Perhaps the most impressive commitment to the Clan this time was the attendance of Nick Hide, genealogist, from the Clan Davidson Association UK who came all the way from Britain to share the event and act as our guest speaker at the dinner on Saturday.We held our usual informal Friday night dinner at a local hostelry called the Fox and Ferret where we took the opportunity to present Grant’s wife Brenda with a Scottish shawl brooch to mark the event and her contribution to it.

CDSNZ held its formal AGM

We held our usual informal Friday night dinner at a local hostelry called the Fox and Ferret where we took the opportunity to present Grant’s wife Brenda with a Scottish shawl brooch to mark the event and her contribution to it.

Saturday was the big day. CDSNZ held its formal AGM in the morning to clear the decks for the formal events later in the day. You will be pleased to know that the team which has so ably piloted our ship over recent years was re-elected and we secured some new blood for the clan exec, especially in the South Island representation area.

Our venue for the Inauguration could not have been more appropriate. The King Arthur Room of the Great Hall is a large baronial-style hall with two enormous braziers at one end and huge timber beams. I am sure that our ancestral clansmen would have felt completely at home.

Our ceremony was honoured by the presence of representatives of a number of other clans including clans Campbell, Donald, Fraser, Mac Rae, Elliott, Macauley, Keith and Matheson. Being able to share the occasion with the wider Scottish-Kiwi community added another dimension to the event. From the feed-back we have had they appreciated and enjoyed the opportunity and the occasion.

The Ceremony

With the Clan and invited guests assembled in the Great Hall our Herald, Maureen MacDonald, called for all to stand. Our piper Malcolm Campbell then struck up “The Royal Scots” and led the official party into the hall. The party consisted of the NZ Clan Seannachie (Max Rawnsley), the Chief’s bodyguard and Banner Bearer (Alex Davidson), the Chief (Grant Davidson) and his wife Brenda, the CDS New Zealand Banner Bearer (Stu Davidson), the CDS Australia Banner Bearer (Frank Davidson), and the Clan Davidson Association UK representative (Nick Hide).

The Seannachie then welcomed the assembled Clan, other clans, friends, visitors, and the Chief and his wife before dedicating a special remembrance to our late Chief Alister Guthrie “Jock” Davidson. We then sent a message from the Clan to Jock’s wife Mary who was unable to be present and remembered Jock and Mary’s daughter Kay who died in 2013.

The Ceremony Continued

Moving to the formal part of the inauguration the Seannachie outlined the history of the occasion, presented the new Chief to the Clan and called the Clan to bless him. The Herald then read the Letters Patent from the Lord Lyon King of Arms that confirmed Alister Guthrie Davidson as “Chief of the Name and Arms of Clan Davidson” and Grant Guthrie Davidson as his heir.

Dr Frank Davidson presented the Chief with his Cromach, the ancient Scottish symbol of the shepherd who guides and protects his flock (this had been a gift on Jock’s Inauguration from CDSA). Nick Hide presented Grant with his bonnet, bearing the 3 eagle feathers, the symbol of the Clan Chiefship. Finally Alex Davidson presented Grant with an inscribed silver Quaich, a gift from Clan Davidson New Zealand to mark the occasion of his inauguration as Clan Chief.

After these presentations the Seannachie called upon the new Chief to accept these symbols and gifts of Clan Davidson and to pledge to lead the Clan with wisdom and sincerity in accordance with the Clan motto. The Chief duly gave his pledge and was given the appropriately filled Quaich to toast his Clan.

The members of Clan Davidson then stood to pledge their loyalty to the new Chief. The Seannachie then invited the Chief to address the Clan. Grant, in his address, thanked everyone for their attendance, especially those who had travelled great distances to be there. He also gave thanks to those who have worked to advance the organisation of Clan Davidson in NZ over the years. He paid tribute to Jock’s dedication to Clan Davidson and the important role he had played in the Clan and the wider Scottish community during his years as Chief. Finally he sought our assistance in maintaining the Clan’s heritage in the coming years.

Ceremony Ending