Satchel, Robert McNab M.P.; Unknown maker; 1890-1917; GO.2011.25


Satchel, Robert McNab M.P.

About this object

This leather satchel belonged to Southland lawyer, politician, farmer, historian Robert McNab (1864-1917) and was likely used to carry his Parliamentary papers. The satchel is personalised by way of a silver metal clasp with Robert’s name engraved above a copperplate flourish.

Robert’s parents, Alexander and Janet McNab, were early run holders who farmed the Knapdale Run in the Mataura River Valley. His parents’ success gave him the opportunity to study law. He entered national politics in 1893, winning the Mataura seat for a term in part due to his opponent's anti-suffrage stance. Robert also supported the local temperance movement and was a vice president of the prohibitionist New Zealand Alliance.

As a historian of significance he contributed many articles on historical events for papers including Gore’s Southern Standard, which were later published as Murihiku: some old time events (1909). This research shed light on the early years of European colonisation in Southland and New Zealand and resulted in him being awarded the first Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) by the University of New Zealand. The bulk of his surviving 4,200 papers are in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.

Te Ara Encyclopaedia has a detailed biography of McNab’s life.


Unknown maker

Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made


Medium and Materials

organic, processed material, leather
inorganic, processed material, metal

Inscription and Marks

'Robert McNab' engraved on metal clasp.


h 315 mm x w 440 mm x d 45 mm

Subject and Association Keywords

Government (National and Local Politics)

Object Type


Object number



Attribution (cc) Attribution (cc)

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