25 Oct 2022

Restoring the status of former disgraced Whanganui mayor

From Afternoons, 1:25 pm on 25 October 2022

Charles Mackay was mayor of Whanganui from 1906 to 1920.

His tenure and name were all but erased from history when it emerged he was gay and shot a returned soldier who was attempting to blackmail him over his sexuality.

Now there are moves to have Charles Mackay's story and leadership preserved through a New Zealand Heritage Rainbow listing.

The story will be told in full in an upcoming book by Paul Diamond. It's being released on November 10.

Whanganui businessman James Barron, a former district councillor, has applied for the Edwardian gentlemen’s offices in which the incident occurred to be listed under Heritage New Zealand’s Rainbow List project. He speaks to Jesse.

Charles Mackay in prison after shooting Walter D’Arcy Cresswell, who had threatened to expose him as a homosexual. Ref: J 1 W2636 1920-31121. Archives NZ Photo: