MACKENZIE, Sir Clutha Nantes
Worker for the blind, author.
A new biography of Mackenzie, Clutha Nantes appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Clutha Nantes Mackenzie was born on 11 February 1895 at Balclutha, Otago, New Zealand, the son of Sir Thomas Mackenzie and Ida Henrietta, née Nantes. He was educated at Waitaki Boys' High School and served with the Wellington Mounted Rifles in Egypt and Gallipoli, being blinded in action in 1915. After a term in the New Zealand House of Representatives as member for Auckland East (1921–22), he became director of the New Zealand Institute for the Blind (1923–38) and representative in New Zealand of St. Dunstan's Hostel for Blinded Soldiers. From 1939 to 1940 and again from 1942 to 1948 he was St. Dunstan's representative in India and from 1943 to 1947 held an appointment from the Government to report on blindness in India. He represented St. Dunstan's in the United States (1940–42). In 1947 he reported for their respective governments on blindness in China and in Malaya. In 1949 he was appointed to UNESCO to aid in the solution of World Braille problems, holding this position until 1951. He has served on United Nations missions to report on blindness in Turkey (1950); Ceylon, Singapore and Indonesia (1952); India (1953); and Pakistan (1953–55). He was chairman of the World Braille Council (1952) and, since then, has been a member of the Executive Council of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. In 1953 he served on the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind Preparatory Mission to East Africa. For the World Council he undertook missions to Egypt, Uganda, and the Aden Protectorate in 1954. From 1955 to 1956 he was director of the Uganda Foundation for the Blind and, in the following year, visited Ethiopia. In 1956 the United Nations appointed him Director of the Uganda Rural Project, a position he held until 1958. In 1960 he was commissioned by United Nations to write on The Rural Training of the Blind of Emergent Countries. In addition he has published Tales of a Trooper (1920) and World Braille Usage (1954).
In 1935, for his services to the blind in New Zealand, Mackenzie was created Knight Bachelor; and in 1947 he was awarded the rare Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal for his services in India.