Clan Johnston(e) to gather again

Members of Southland Clan Johnston/e (from left) John Johnston, Marie Johnston, Joan Little, Lyndsay Johnstone, Jack Johnstone, Vanessa Broad, Kathryn Smith and Fay Officer.

A call is going out to all Southland Johnston(e)s to unite for a clan gathering being held in Invercargill this year.

The Johnstons hail from the Scottish border area around Dumfries, Lockerbie and Annandale in the 1100's. They were known as the 'gentle Johnstones' because they were anything but gentle, fighting fiercely with their rivals and raiding English towns across the border. There have been Johnston(e)s in New Zealand since 1836, and many emigrated to Otago from the 1840's to the 1880's. 

Southland Clan Johnston(e) member Fay Officer said the Southland branch would be hosting the national clan gathering of Johnston(e)s over the weekend of Friday, May 18 through to Sunday 20 at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill.

People have already registered their interest in the event, with clan members coming to Southland from all over New Zealand.

"We know already that there's people coming from Taumaranui, Auckland, Blenheim, Napier. There's a few people coming but we don't know how many people at this stage."

The national conference would provide a great chance for clan members to get together and engage with one another in stories and family history, she said.

The gathering will feature some guest speakers, demonstrations, bagpipes and of course the haggis.

Blueberry Country Southland general manager Simon Bardon would make an appearance, she said.

"He's a chef, and he's a blacksmith, he makes swords. He's going to be giving a demonstration on the Saturday." 

Anybody with connections to clan Johnston(e) was encouraged to come along, even if they had never been to a gathering before, she said.

"It's very interesting learning about your clan and forebears."

Registrations for the gathering close on Friday, April 20. For further information contact Marie Johnston on 027 433 1825 or email


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