Muriel McPhee, 1991

Marcus (right), Muriel (left) and Mona (middle) King, late 1970's
Muriel /McPhee/
Given names
Also known as
Muriel McPhee /King/
Death of a husband
Note: Source - TePapa

Source - TePapa

Note date of birth and age at death information on Marcus' gravestone conflicts with his interment record as currently shown, both of which conflict with Births Deaths & Marriages info.

The Funeral directors IC Mark of Waikenae Ltd were responsible for both gravestone and interment record details, as well as notifying Births Deaths and Marriages as to date of death, as I (Paul King) understand it from discussing it with them.

IC Marks indicated in an email message to me (2016) that they had relied upon information provided by Muriel, and that there would be a $1500 fee for correcting the details on the gravestone, should we wish it.

We have Marcus own handwritten record as to date of birth in his military records, which matches BDM, and presumably an actual date of death would be harder to get wrong than a calculation as to age at death, and any serious error as to date of death would likely have been noticed by BDM (e.g. if it was received by BDM in 1983 but date of death recorded was as per interment record 1984)

The balance of probabilities would seem to support Births Deaths & Marriages info as correct, and that other figures were a result of miscalculation / mis remembering by Muriel who may have represented his age at death variously as 93 or 95 (instead of 92)

I contacted Kāpiti Coast District Council (who admisister the Waikanae Cemetary) about this on 17/10/2016, and they have confirmed they will update their records.

Burial of a husband
Family with parents
Marcus (right), Muriel (left) and Mona (middle) King, late 1970's
Death: November 1991
Family with Marcus King
Treaty Of Waitangi
Birth: May 15, 1891 43 36 Manaia, New Zealand
Death: August 22, 1983Levin, New Zealand
Marcus (right), Muriel (left) and Mona (middle) King, late 1970's
Death: November 1991
Marriage MarriageNovember 2, 1957St Andrews Presbyterian Church, The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
Marcus King + Kathleen Munro Clark
Treaty Of Waitangi
Birth: May 15, 1891 43 36 Manaia, New Zealand
Death: August 22, 1983Levin, New Zealand
husband’s wife
Birth: 1903 31 27 Morrinsville, New Zealand
Death: December 24, 1955Wellington
Stephanie, Chouteau June 2006
Birth: January 16, 1945 53 42 Wellington, New Zealand
Death: January 29, 2015Pryor, OK

Attended Elam School of Art (possibly how she first met future husband Marcus King?) and made clay sculptures.
Childless herself, Muriel became step-mother to and evidently actively disliked and resented all the children of her predecessor Kathleen Munro King (nee Clark) and Artist husband Marcus King (by then aged 66). Reportedly very possessive & domineering of Marcus, and requiring his full attention, Muriel threw the youngest child Stephanie King out of the family home at age 13.

The older siblings had by then left home.

Paul King speculation (12/8/06): perhaps Muriel was an old flame or previously spurned admirer of Marcus, who resented his marrage to Kathleen - and thus by extension her children?.
The children had a sense in retrospect that her persuit of Marcus was almost predatory & that she "pounced" as soon as she decently could after her rival had died? Perhaps Kathleen's children may have been a painful reminder of Muriel's "failure" as a young woman to secure Marcus and have children of her own?)

Stephanie, with the help of her older sister Gabriel, found lodging in Chiltern St James boarding school in the Hutt. Stephanie recalled being sent home for her first holidays only to learn all her clothes & belongings had been given away in her absence by Muriel.

At about age 16 (minimum school leaving age) Stephanie then moved to hostel accommodation.

Marcus reportedly told Stephanie that while he had quickly come to regret his apparently hasty remarriage & the attendant problems, that he had "made his bed and so must lie in it" - and perhaps for this reason found himself unable to stand up to Muriel or defend his youngest daughter.

Paul King, son of Stephanie King was taken to visit Muriel & Marcus King as a child of perhaps 6 or 7 - and vividly recalls that by then she was almost completely bald, hook nosed, somewhat fat, hunched & smelly, with beady eyes and black pointy-framed glasses - a quintessential "wicked stepmother", complete with a fixed & frightening leer, multiple cats & dead flies covering every window sill. On being presented, Paul was rather reluctant to deliver the "kiss" she insisted upon.
Marcus King on the other hand seemed a small, thin & very wizened but kindly old man, (rheumy blue eyes), who presented Paul with some old crayons in a cigarette tin and some children's books. Both had belonged to his Aunt Gabrielle as a child, and so Paul subsequently returned these to her.

On Marcus King's death, a large quantity of his paintings were still in his posssion, which he had verbally promised as a legacy to his children. However, no mention of this appeared in his (generic) will, which simply left everything to his wife, should he precease her. The best of these paintings were quickly sold by Muriel. The unsold remainder (reportedly around 130) were stored in the damp basement at the Waikanae house for many years and deteriorated badly. All of Marcus's & her remaining assets were willed by Muriel to her sister Lorna McPhee (then living in Paris), again excluding Marcus's children. Lorna returned to Paris leaving the paintings in the custody of a Mr C.G.Coxhead of Kandallah in Wellington until her own death, refusing (through her lawyer!) all attempts by grandson Paul King or son Mark King to discuss, view, purchase, or to participate in their preservation, despite reported possible attempts to sell at least some of them by an undisclosed gentleman in the interim.

Some years later and having little or no commercial value, at least some of these residual paintings (mostly exercises or sketches for subsequent larger & more highly finished work, and most by now water and/or vermin damaged) were returned, along with various papers, photographs, an easel & old art materials, to son Mark King


** Note, the below now appears to be irrelevant - Robin Mcphee advised Paul King that Muriel's father Charles McPhee was a 'woollen merchant', but was unrelated to the McPhees who set up and ran the McPhees Highland outfitters shop described below

(email to Paul King from Robin McPhee dated 11/2/2017)
From: Robin & Louise []
Sent: Saturday, 11 February 2017 5:24 PM
To: Paul King
Subject: Marcus King and the McPhees

Hello Paul,
First off, thanks for putting your King family history up online. I started researching my family history a few years ago, so appreciate the work you have done and that you have made it available online..
Marcus King's 2nd wife Muriel McPhee was my great grandfather's niece. I noticed in your notes on her that you thought there might be a connection between Muriel's family and the McPhee shop. While Muriel's father Charles was in the clothing business, it was as a woollen merchant, not as Highland Outfitters & Bagpiping suppliers.
So, I hope you will be pleased to learn that Neil & Alan McPhee, who started the McPhees shop, are not related to Charles or Muriel. Hopefully, this will make the your memory of the experience of working in the McPhees shop a little happier.
I'm sorry, Muriel caused such problem's for Marcus's family. My mother visited Marcus & Muriel once, back in the early 1960's. She told me that she came away rather liking Marcus, thinking he was a true gentleman, but rather glad that she wouldn't have to visit Muriel again.
Also, there is currently a drawing of Marcus King's for sale on TradeMe. It is reportedly of Elizabeth McPhee (Marcus's 2nd mother-in-law) but I don't think it is.
Here is the link
Best Wishes
Robin McPhee
Island Bay

Muriel's family owned the Mcphee Highland Outfitters shop in Wellington, that Paul King unwittingly worked for in the 1980's as an after school job while at Wellington High School (Where it also turns out grandfather Marcus King taught art in the 20's, at what was then known as the 'Wellington Technical College')

Blurb from the McPhee company website:

McPhee’s has been in Wellington for over 65 years. It was founded in 1946 by Neil McPhee who also started the NZ Police Pipe Band. There have only been five owners in this 60 year period. Neil McPhee handed over the reins firstly to Colin Addison, then Kevin Nelson, Janet & Terry Weir and more recently to Elaine and Alan (in 2002).

Email from the current owner of McPhees
Elaine Rowse 19/7/15

Hi Paul
I can’t tell you much about the genealogy of the McPhee’s but I do know a bit about them from talking to people over the 13 years we have had the shop.

I received a few snippets from a man a couple of years ago and it might be worth your contacting him. I am sure he wouldn’t mind me passing on his details to you. A woman came into the shop whose name was/is Linda and she said she would contact her uncle. She said that If I would like to contact John (Jenner) for a chat his home number is 473 2857. I would guess that is Auckland 09 code number.

His email address is here but it might be nicer to phone. You can see some other McPhee’s listed on the CC – I don’t know who they are. I have tried a number of times over the years to get in touch with Neil and Allan’s descendants but never had much luck. Men would come into the shop and tell me they knew Neil’s or Allan’s son and I heard that he was in Auckland. One person said he was buying something for one of the sons. I also heard that he had died. But they never made contact.

Here’s the email.

From: John Jenner
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:14 PM
To: Doug McCutcheon
Cc: Neil & Sharon McPhee
Subject: Re: The McPhee Shop

Hi Linda,

Sorry, I don't have any photos of the shops from which Neil and Allan operated, but I can confirm that they started immediately after the war when Allan came back and got out of the army and Neil resigned from the police force. 1946 would be right, I think. The firm was N & A McPhee Ltd and operated first from a workshop at 235 Riddiford St, Newtown. The building isn't there any more, but I remember going there to watch them working at producing bagpipes on several lathes they had set up. They used to bring in logs of African Blackwood and of Rosewood, have them cut up in Kilbirnie and turned into bagpipes at their workshop in Newtown.

Later, but not too much later, they opened a shop at 43 Tory St., just up from Courtenay Place (McPhees Highland House). Hoosens' menswear was on the corner and they were just behind. Now it's where Chows restaurant is, although that's upstairs. Around about 1950, Nell, my mum, gave up teaching and became their kiltmaker. They also brought May Cameron out from Scotland and she and Nell made kilts in a workroom first at the back of the Tory St shop, then in Kings Chambers, where the State Insurance Building now is and later in Courtenay Place. I think they had then given up the Newtown workshop.

Somewhere in the 1960s the shop moved from Tory St into Courtenay Place, around where the Reading Centre now is. I'm not sure how long they were there, but moved after Colin Addison bought the company about 1970. Neil had died by then and Allan retired.

Another place you could try is There are a few variations of this website now. I always use as I have no relatives born in NZ. There is now an if you get the worldwide membership there are some NZ records available. From a brief foray into the NZ Electoral rolls this morning I found Neil John Sammon McPhee living in Kainui Rd in 1938 listed as a detective. In 1928 he is a constable in the Taranaki St barracks. In 1963 he is in Wellington Rd and a music importer. So we know he still had McPhee’s in 1963.
A quick look for Muriel shows her living with her parents Charles and Elizabeth in 11 Glen Rd Wellington.
You can also trace Allan McPhee in the Military records on Ancestry. Should be relatively easy as there are not a lot of McPhees in NZ and also Allan spelled with two ls is rare in those days.
I found out all that in about 20 minutes so I am sure if you spent an hour or two playing around you could pin them down to the same address at some stage. From there you need to start checking census returns and BMD records.

One of the stories I heard from a customer was that Neil (when he was a police officer working in the Taranaki St barracks) used to have the pipers around to practice in the evening. He used to let the prisoners out of their cells to listen to the music but they had to promise to go back to their cells when the concert was over. I often think Neil must be revolving in his grave at 100 kph with the state of the Police Pipe Band now, basically NO police and hardly any NZers. A lot of Aussie ring-ins.

A lot of people remember Colin Addison very fondly. From the stories I heard he was a big man and very gruff but kind. A woman told me she was a member of the “Wellington Ladies Pipe Band” and Colin used to tutor them. They were all scared of him because he was so big and loud but they all loved him. I would guess that it was Colin you worked for in the 1980s. He had a few sons as well but none of them ever seemed to have much interest in anything Scottish. Colin’s wife would pop into the shop every few years just to see how things were going.

You might also be interested in this – an article I sent out in a newsletter last year
Anyone remember this evening back in 1979?

We received an email and facebook posting recently from a man called Bob Gustafson who lives in the U.S.A.
Here is his story "I am writing to you to see if this is the same McPhees that I visited back in 1979. I was on a US Coast Guard Ice Breaker named "Glacier". On board was an airman by the name of Dan Titus who was an incredible pipe player. He took me and a friend to McPhees because he was looking at tartans and pipes. He said that McPhees was known around the world. I purchased a practice chanter. The man at the store was maybe in his 50's and had curly reddish hair. We were invited to a cook out at his home where we ate joints of pork and a variety of excellent foods. The evening capped off with several men playing the pipes with a bonfire in the background at sunset. This was one of my favorite memories from my two trips to Antarctica. If this is the store and you know the man then bless you all for giving me one of my fondest memories."
We have replied and told him that the man was Colin Addison. If anyone remembers this and would like to contact Bob, let us know and we will put you in touch.

Anyway, that should get you started. If you ever manage to get a photo of Neil and Allan or even if you have one of Colin Addison I would like to put them on the About Us page of the website.

When we took over McPhee’s in 2002 we were under pressure from all sides to change the name. McPhee’s went downhill under the ownership of Kevin Nelson and a lot of overseas companies wouldn’t deal with us because of prior unpaid debts. I think he had the shop around 1996 to 2000 and did a lot of damage to the reputation in those years. In his time it was in Cuba Mall and also upstairs on Willis St for a while. However with Alan and I both being history buffs and both into genealogy we wanted to keep the original name going. It is a bit of Wellington’s history!!


If you need any more help or would like to chat I am here during the week. Good luck.

Elaine Rowse

McPhee's Celtic
PO Box 17395
Phone +64 4 476 0139

From: Paul King []
Sent: Saturday, 18 July 2015 9:12 p.m.
Subject: McPhees Highland Outfitters - history

Hi – I am interested in finding out a bit about the history of your store, and its founder, as it appears they intersect my own family history.

My grandfather Marcus King was re-married to a Muriel Mcphee in 1957, and I have just learned that family legend has it that hers was the family that established McPhee’s.

Muriel’s father was Charles McPhee, and mother Elizabeth. I am wondering what the relationship of our Muriel may have been to the Neil McPhee listed as the founder on your website?

Do you have access to any further history on Neil McPhee or his family?

I also worked at McPhee’s myself for a short time as an after school job in the ‘80s, not realising the connection at the time. (mostly sorting scraps of tartan and punching holes in leather straps as I recall). A bit hazy now, but were you in Vivian Street at the time?


Paul King
Registered Architect, B.Bsc, B.Arch (1st Class Hons), ANZIA
On behalf of Architecture Prime Ltd


Buried with/shares Marcus's headstone in Waikanae cemetary

Media object
Marcus (right), Muriel (left) and Mona (middle) King, late 1970's
Marcus (right), Muriel (left) and Mona (middle) King, late 1970's
Note: 11 Loasby Crescent, Newlands, Christmas visit

11 Loasby Crescent, Newlands, Christmas visit

Mona King is the mother of Don King, then husband of Stephanie King, who was the daughter of Marcus King.
The shared 'King' surname is coincidental - there was no known family connection between Marcus and Mona prior to the marriage of Stephanie King and Don King.

Media object
Recollections of Muriel McPhee (nee King)
Note: Taped interview by Mark King

Taped interview by Mark King

Topics include:
Marcus King