Symonds Street Cemetery: David McNair Dingwall

David McNair Dingwall was born in Auckland in 1846. His parents were Alexander Dingwall and Jean McNair.l

Dingwall was a member of the congregation of St Andrews Church in Symonds Street and then St Lukes Church in Mt Albert.

David lived out his Christian faith in his integrity in all matters of business, his kindness to those in need and his focus on doing what he was determined to do.

Some apparently called David mean, as he lived frugally and he and his sister Sarah saved all their lives, but this was for a goal which was to be revealed after his death.

He never turned away any in genuine need, when he died it was discovered that during the twelve months before his death, he had given away over one thousand pounds - a large sum in those days - to help others.

On his death in 1927 at the age of 82, his executors revealed the instructions in his will.


(The) “Institution to be located within 50 miles of the Auckland General Post Office, to be called the Dingwall Presbyterian Orphanage and the trustees were to be the current ministers and a lay person from the four City Presbyterian churches, St Andrews, St James , St Lukes and St Davids and the three executors from Jackson, Ryburn and Buttle”.

“for the maintenance, upbringing and education for children, born or domiciled in New Zealand, of any race or creed, who should be orphans or destitute, or whose parent should be in strained circumstances”.

Orphans of any race or creed or children of poor parents were to be eligible for admission.

The homes were established in Papatoetoe. Today the Dingwall Trust has a simple clear focus a summary of David’s will, “to step in where parents are unable.”

He is buried with his father Alexander Dingwall who had died on the 9th of November 1889 aged 84 years and his mother Jean McNair Dingwall who had died on the 21st of June 1896 aged 90 years.

The Family Plot also includes his sister, Sarah Dingwall who died 16 December 1943 aged 96 years.

Miss Dingwall was greatly involved in the running of the Orphanage Homes from their establishment in 1927 and her death in 1943.