MacKenzie’s Friday

02.28.08 | 4 Comments

In the previous post, there was this bronzed statue of the collie over looking Lake Tekapo in the MacKenzie District, New Zealand

“This momument was erected by the runholders of the MacKenzie County and those who appreciate the value of the collie dog. Without the help of which grazing of this mountain country would be impossible.”

Did you know that there is a very interesting story about it?

The statue is said to be made in the image of Friday, a dog owned by alleged sheep stealer, James MacKenzie, who lived in New Zealand back in the 1850s.

MacKenzie allegedly stole over 1000 sheep and with the help of Friday, moved them inlands, leading to the discovery of Mackenzie District.

After their capture, MacKenzie and Friday were brought to trial.

From James MacKenzie, A story of one man and his dog

During the trial, one by one the witnesses rounded off the whole story of the stolen mob and Mackenzie’s flight.
“Bring in the dog,” called out the judge.

I saw MacKenzie start and gnaw his fingers a moment, as the crowd stared at the slim timid little black beast, that had outwitted grey old shepherds, with the dumb crambo tricks Mac had taught her. He slipped her chain coming in, and in another minute the slim, sad-eyed thing was scratching and whining at the woodwork, trying to get to Jock.
And Jock – the dog’s eyes had made a baby of him, six-footer that he was. The tears ran down and lost themselves in his red beard as he said over and over,

“Eh, lassie! Poor lassie. They’ve got you too!”
Well, I felt smaller that matchwood that minute. There, on the one hand, was all civilisation with it’s thumb turned down; on the other, this neolithic survival of a man and his soft-eyed dog bearing it all!

“That is enough; remove the dog,” said the judge.

“Leave the dog to me; she was mine, bought with my own money; she was doing no harm to nobody, and she was a good friend to me that has no other. Leave me the poor beastie! I’ll make your roads; I`ll break your stone; I`ll call myself thief; but let her stay. She’ll work for me, will never lift sheep more, only let me keep her.”

“The dogs a witch; and a witch is not allowed to live – Holy Writ for that!
She could sweep a run by herself. Reform a dog? Yes, with a bullet – thats the only way.”
I thought Mackenzie would burst his heart at that. For myself, I hardly waited for the Court to adjourn before bouncing on the Super like a young tornado. (the Super was the Superintendent of Canterbury, James Edward FitzGerald.)

Good old Fitzs Irish blood was up, too.

The powers of justice heard a deal about matters canine that afternoon; and the upshot was that the dog was banished from the holy soil of Canterbury and sent back with a guard of honour to Otago, where she lived long and saw good days.”

Picture of MacKenzie’s Friday in 1850s


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