He became active in the Free Church of Scotland, and from there, in the proposed colonisation of Otago (which was being advocated by the Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland, later the Otago Association). In partnership with his brother-in-law William Hunter Reynolds, Macandrew bought a schooner, loaded it with cargo, and set sail for Otago with his family. He arrived in January 1851.
Still working in partnership with his brother-in-law, Macandrew immediately became a major figure in the business community of Dunedin. Reynolds, his brother-in-law, began to build up a shipping business, while Macandrew himself established a trading firm in the city. The partners later established a steamer service between Dunedin and Melbourne, Australia. The two soon became very wealthy.
|New Zealand Parliament|
|1853–1855||1st||Town of Dunedin||Independent|
|1855–1858||2nd||Town of Dunedin||Independent|
|1859–1860||2nd||Town of Dunedin||Independent|
|1875–1879||6th||City of Dunedin||Independent|
When it was formed, Macandrew was elected to the New Zealand Parliament, representing the Town of Dunedin electorate. In Parliament, he fought what he saw as a bias towards the northern provinces (Auckland and Wellington) at the expense of his own Otago. He also defended the practice of opening Parliament with prayers (describing them as a necessary "acknowledgement of dependence on the Divine Being"), and lobbied that all Parliamentary debates be published. As well as serving in Parliament, Macandrew was also Superintendent of Otago Province from 1860 to 1861, and again from 1867 until abolition in 1876.
He remained in Parliament until his death on 24 February 1887, having served in nine separate terms for the electorates. He first served for Town of Dunedin 1853–1858 (he resigned on 2 November 1858). He successfully contested a 14 January 1859 by-election in the same electorate and served until the end of the parliamentary term in 1860. Next, he served in the Bruce electorate 1865–1866, followed by Clutha 1866–1870, Port Chalmers 1871–1875 and City of Dunedin 1875–1879. His last term was in Port Chalmers again from 1879–1887, when he died.
Macandrew is buried at Macandrew Bay Cemetery.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Macandrew.|
- Olssen, Erik (22 June 2007). "Macandrew, James 1819? - 1887". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Hall, David Oswald William (1966). "MACANDREW, James". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "ELECTION OF A MEMBER FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES". Otago Witness (372). 15 January 1859. p. 5. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
| Superintendent of Otago Province
|Provincial Councils abolished|
|New Zealand Parliament|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for City of Dunedin
| Member of Parliament for Bruce
Served alongside: Arthur John Burns
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Clutha
| Father of the House
Sir Maurice O'Rorke