Scottish clan welcomes New Zealand chief

Chief of the Clan Davidson, Grant Guthrie Davidson, pictured with wife Brenda, was announced as chief in a ceremony in ...
Pam Carmichael

Chief of the Clan Davidson, Grant Guthrie Davidson, pictured with wife Brenda, was announced as chief in a ceremony in Christchurch at the Chateau on the Park.

Davidson clansmen and clanswomen around New Zealand – and the globe – are now supporting their new Scottish chief.

Grant Guthrie Davidson, third of Davidston, was made chief of the Davidson clan earlier this month in an inauguration ceremony in Christchurch.

The new chief was presented with his Cromach (the ancient Scottish symbol of the shepherd, who guides and protects his flock) by Dr Frank Davidson, Clan Davidson Australia; the three-feathered bonnet (the three eagle feathers symbolising Clan Chieftainship) by Nick Hide, Clan Davidson UK; and a ceremonial quaich, from which he drank the "water of life", presented by Alex Davidson, president of Clan Davidson NZ.   

Clan Davidson Society in New Zealand treasurer Maureen MacDonald said it was a particularly special ceremony for the clan.

"Clan Davidson is the only Scottish clan to have a New Zealander as the chief of the worldwide clan, so it was a unique event to be held in this country," she said.

Grant Davidson's late father Alastair (Jock) Davidson, who died in December 2014, had carried the Davidson clan chieftainship after being recognised in 1997 at a ceremony in Australia and before the establishment of New Zealand's Clan Davidson Society in 1998.

Alastair Davidson succeeded his cousin, Duncan Hector Davidson, who was finally recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms as Chief of the Name and Arms of Clan Davidson in June 1996, eighty years after the last chief had died.

"He said 'I'm only going to do this if you're going to carry it on'," Grant Davidson said of his father.

Grant Davidson and his brother had been acknowledged by the Court of the Lord Lyon when their father inherited the chieftainship, which meant it was an automatic changeover this year to Grant.

"Now, it's come to me. It's all a learning curve," he said.

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By day, Davidson is a construction site manager in Auckland but said he would enjoy swapping the hi-vis for a kilt and bonnet for festive occasions.

"I wish it was a gentry," he said.

The clan now has 150 members nationwide.

"The objective of being in a clan is to promote the clans traditions and learn more about where they come from."

The clan is looking to build up a group of members that could enjoy all-things Scottish together. For the past three years, they had held a clan tent at the Hororata Games.

"As far as the chief goes, he sits there with the bonnet on his head," Grant Davidson said.

Davidson hoped to carry on the tradition out of respect for his father.

The clan wrapped up the ceremonial weekend with a tour of Deans Bush, the cottage and Riccarton House. That too was special for the clan as Dean was a sept of Davidson.

 - The Press

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