Daniel Cunningham McIntyre (b.1866)

Daniel McIntyre was a businessman who became Director of Exhibits for the 1906-1907 New Zealand International Exhibition held in Christchurch.

McIntyre was embroiled in controversy over financial irregularities and hurriedly left the country in 1907. He travelled under a false name and was arrested in Monte Video, Uruguay later that year. He was returned to Christchurch, where he plead guilty to four charges of theft. He repaid some money, but no record of his sentence or his date of death have been found.

Early life

Daniel Cunningham McIntyre was born in Wellington in 1866, the youngest son of shipmaster Captain Daniel McIntyre (1827-1887) and his wife Elizabeth Cunningham (d. 1899). He was educated in Wellington but moved to Christchurch with his family some time before 1887. He joined J. M. Heywood and Company, customs, forwarding and general commission agents and cartage contractors, eventually becoming manager of the Lyttelton branch. He married Mary Elizabeth Brown in 1900, by which time he was trading on his own account as a shipping and forwarding agent. This business continued until he became a representative for the 1906-07 New Zealand International Exhibition. It is his involvement with the exhibition, and the resulting scandal for which he is most famous.

Involvement in the exhibition

McIntyre was appointed as the exhibition’s travelling representative in February 1906. He spent the next few months touring the colony from end to end, successfully raising interest in the exhibition with various local bodies and other organisations. In August, having completed his tour, he was appointed Director of Exhibits.

Rumours swirl

In November 1906, when most of the administrative personnel at the exhibition were in conflict, it was reported that McIntyre was a man “whom nobody has anything to say against …”1. He remained well regarded for most of the Exhibition period, as people felt that he had done admirable work in dealing with the “thousand and one difficulties”2 which arose among the stallholders. However in March 1907, rumours of financial irregularities began to surface.

Allegations denied

The rumours centred on allegations that bribes had been taken for judging of exhibits and the awarding of medals and certificates, and that money paid by potential Exhibition stall holders had not been properly accounted for. McIntyre firmly denied any wrongdoing, saying “he was satisfied he would come out of the affair with credit”3.

Only a very small number of the 1800 awards made had been protested, chiefly those for wines and spirits, and all awards had been approved by the Minister in charge before being announced.

Sudden departure and arrest

Soon after, it was reported that McIntyre had left the colony under an assumed name in order to escape his creditors.

A meeting of his creditors on 16 April 1907 made reference to his having obtained money improperly from a number of people and to his owing hundreds and hundreds of pounds. In July he was arrested in Monte Video in Uruguay.

In custody McIntyre revealed that he had been hard pressed by his creditors at the time of his appointment as Director of Exhibits in August 1906. To have declared himself bankrupt at this time, however, would have meant he had no chance of obtaining the Exhibition position so he mistakenly decided to struggle on. His sudden departure from New Zealand on board the Turakina, travelling steerage under the name of Mr Mack, was triggered because his financial difficulties had become so overwhelming he saw no option but “to effect a prompt change in his address”. He hoped to make a fresh start in England.

Guilty pleas to charges of theft

McIntyre's statement to the police on his return to New Zealand covered ten pages of foolscap paper. He complained bitterly of his sufferings at the Central Police Station in Monte Video, where he had been confined for seven weeks, and of his treatment by the Uruguayan police, but as he noted, he “never denied [his] wrongdoing”, and agreed to be extradited. At his trial in September 1907, he pleaded guilty to four charges of theft from the International Exhibition accounts, the amount totalling 87 pounds and 10 shillings, but asked for clemency:

“My position is not owing to vice of any kind. I have not been a gambler, a drinker or a dissipator. I have always been a hard worker … I am now in my 41st year. I am penniless … [but] I am determined to do my utmost … to restore my good name” 4.

McIntyre had by this time repaid some of the money he owed to his creditors, and was living on bail in Christchurch. No record of his sentence has been found.

Success tarnished

McIntyre’s offending and conviction tarnished what was otherwise a good record. Both before and during the Exhibition, he worked anything up to 16 hours a day, and The Press acknowledged that on opening day the “advanced state of the Exhibition so far as exhibitors’ displays” were concerned was “largely due to his efforts”5. Furthermore, in stark contrast to Munro, he displayed an “imperturbably good temper”6 which was highly beneficial for the exhibition.

After the trial, the McIntyre family emigrated to Australia. McIntyre died there about 1942.


  1. 1 New Zealand free lance, 10 November 1906, pg. 3a.
  2. 2 “Mr. D. C. McIntyre”, The Press, 1 Nov 1906, pg. 8.
  3. 3 “D. C. McIntyre’s arrest at Monte Video”, The Press, 6 July 1907, pg. 9.
  4. 4 “D.C. McIntyre: committed for sentence: his experience at Monte Video”, Poverty Bay Herald, 7 September 1907, p. 2.
  5. 5 “Mr. D. C. McIntyre”, The Press, 1 Nov 1906, pg. 8.
  6. 6 “Mr. D. C. McIntyre”, The Press, 1 Nov 1906, pg. 8.