Amanda McLaren, Ambassador for the McLaren Motor Racing Company, has presented a very special Maori doll (pictured) to the Ulster New Zealand Trust.
This doll will be displayed at the trust’s Ballance House museum and events centre, currently being revamped to reopen later this year.
Located on what is still the Ballance family farm between Lisburn and Glenavy, this was the birthplace of John Ballance. As NZ Prime Minister in the 1890s, this liberal Ulsterman helped ensure the franchise was extended to Maoris and women, making NZ the first nation in the world to give females the vote.
Amanda McLaren choose Ballance House to display this doll because her famous father, racing driver and car designer Bruce McLaren, was from Auckland, NZ, and his first racing car was an Austin 7 Ulster.
Bruce moved to the UK and founded the McLaren Motor Racing Company, which continues to compete successfully at the very highest level in this sport.
Sadly, he was killed in an accident at Goodwood in 1970.
For the 2021 season the McLaren F1 drivers will be Lando Norris, 21, from the UK, and 31 year old Australian Daniel Ricciardo.