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BLAIR, David Ker, (1868 - 1944)

D. K. Blair

D. K. Blair (1868-1944). Past Presidents Album 1914-1966. IPENZ.

Born 10 April 1868, the eldest son of the late William Newsham Blair, former Engineer-in-Chief and Under-Secretary of the Public Works Department, David Blair was educated at Otago Boys' High School and Wellington College. He served an apprenticeship with Kincaid, McQueen and Co., Dunedin and William Cable Ltd., Wellington, then went to sea as an engineer, later gaining his chief engineer's ticket in the United Kingdom. In 1899 Mr Blair went into partnership in Sydney, with Charles Richardson and for 14 years specialised in the design of gold dredges, returning to New Zealand to open a branch of the firm. Later, Mr Blair was appointed surveyor to Lloyd's Register of Shipping and held this position, together with that of honorary corresponding member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, for a number of years. On retiring from these posts in 1936, he was honoured by a special gathering of members of the engineering profession who paid many tributes to his fine work.

Mr Blair was elected a member of the New Zealand Society of Civil Engineers in December 1924; was a member of Council from 1933 to 1935; vice-president 1929-31; president 1931-32 and ex-officio member of Council 1932-33.

D K Blair was one of the early mechanical engineers and played quite a prominent part in the endeavours to make the Institution thoroughly representative of all branches of engineering. He represented the Institution on the Engineers Registration Board for many years and gave to the Board much valuable assistance in connection with the assessment of the professional qualification of mechanical applicants for registration.

He died on 29 May 1944.


This biography comes from Newnham, W L, "Learning Service Achievement" New Zealand Institution of Engineers, 1971, pp 340/1Refer also to:

  • Obituary, Proceedings of NZIE, Vol. 30, p 304
  • New Zealand Engineering, December 1982, p 29.