Given names: 
Given address: 
Sheet No: 399

Biography contributed by Dr Nicola Francis

Dollina ‘Dolly’ ADAIR was born in Auckland on 15 December 1869, the third of five children to Flora McKENZIE (c.1837-1875) and William ADAIR (c.1838-1914), cooper. Flora McKenzie had arrived in New Zealand on the Highland Lass in October 1852 with her parents as part of the migration of Highland Scots from Scotland to Nova Scotia and then to Waipū.

Dolly’s mother Flora died when Dolly was five years old and sometime later Dolly’s father moved to Whanganui. Dolly attended Waipū Central School, however it is not clear who she lived with in Waipū.

Dolly was 24 when she signed the women’s suffrage petition at Waipū.

In 1897 at Waipū Dolly married John Alexander ‘Paddy’ Finlayson, whose parents Donald Finlayson and Christina Matheson had been part of the Nova Scotian migration to Waipū, arriving on the Gazelle in 1853 or 1854, having arrived in Melbourne from Nova Scotia on the Margaret, in April 1852.

Dolly gave birth to Flora Arabella in 1898 and to Donald Matheson in 1901.

Dolly and Paddy Finlayson farmed on St Mary’s Road, Waipū. Dolly supported Paddy on the farm and in his public roles, which included the executive of the Farmers’ Union, director and Chair of the Waipū Co-operative Dairy Company, and Chair of the Waipū Road Board. Paddy died suddenly at a Farmers’ Union meeting in Waipū on 25 August 1920, aged 59.

Dolly suffered from arthritis and as a result walked with a limp. After her husband’s death, she lived some time with her daughter Flora at 49 Old Mill Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland and then with her son Donald at 16 Armstrong Avenue, Whangārei.

Dolly died at Whangārei Hospital on 13 September 1964 aged 96 years and is buried in Waipū Cemetery.


Waipū Museum, The Centre, Waipū, Tai Tokerau Northland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Probate: FINLAYSON Dolina - Te Kopuru – Widow. R956605 BBNY 10440 A1346 39/ 45/1965 Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga, Auckland.

Kath Forbes and Alison Honeyfield, “The Finlayson Clan – Descendants of John Finlayson (Ian An Saighdear) and Christina Cameron”, Te Aroha: Evagean Publishing, 2008.


Dollina ‘Dolly’ FINLAYSON nee ADAIR, circa 1960 (Waipū Museum).

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about Dollina Adair

What do you know?