The second son of John Macky and Eliza was named for his father. Born at Coshquin in 1821, he was sent to Glasgow University to study for the ministry. Graduating from there in 1841 with the degree of MA he was in the same year ordained by the Derry Presbytery and received a call to the pastorate of Fahan Church. Fahan is situated North of Londonderry and close to Loch Foyle. He remained in charge of Fahan until he left for New Zealand.
His marriage with Rebecca Cochrane, the daughter of Joseph Cochrane, took place at Chrislaughmore in the following year. The manse was situated at Carnshanagh.
At the time we commence this narrative their household has been increased by the addition of Samuel Cochrane (who was going to school with Dorcas) and John.
Thomas, writing home in September 1849, lay plans for the Reverend John to come to Auckland. "The Irish Presbyterians would like to have a minister of their own country".
However, at this period the Reverend John did contemplate leaving Ireland, as had the remainder of the family.
By September of the following year Thomas wrote very fervently for John to come out immediately. He even risked the idea that his brother should come out unsponsored by the mother church. Again, in December of the same year, he wrote "Now I hope and trust you will not hesitate but come out". John Macky, hearing of this proposal looked at it somewhat askance-- "it would be a great uncertainty for him to go without getting a call from the congregation".
In 1851 Kitty, Rebecca's sister, had left to join Thomas and any reluctance from this quarter to go to New Zealand disappeared.
Time passed but Thomas did not flag in his determination to bring the Reverend John to Auckland-- "there is an urgent call from the country." "What we want is a minister whom the people will believe is a Presbyterian".
However, at that time his efforts were in vain. At the end of 1852, the Reverend John was invited "to go to the Jews in Damascus". John refused, and wisely so in his view, to respond to Thomas' invitation to come out on his own initiative and without the blessing of the church. But he did try and did ultimately succeed in the orthodox manner. He received the blessing of the board of mission directors of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland on December 28, 1853.
He hastened to inform his brothers and made all arrangements to secure a stern cabin in the Cashmere to sail in March 1854. He even lent a hand to hurry John Macky in disposing of the farms. He made arrangements for disposing of his own farm and asked James to purchase one in Auckland for him.
Thus we come to the end of the written record and his arrival with his young family has already been recorded. These were now: Samuel Cochrane, John, Joseph James, Margaret Cochrane and Elizabeth.
His first sermon he preached in St Andrew's on the morning of the day of his arrival. Thenceforth, "full of life and vigour" he set about his country charge, the centre of which was Otahuhu. There on the afternoon of the same day he preached again in Baird's Store by the Tamaki. Today there may be seen a barn in which he preached for some years and the pulpit is still in place. The date "1858" is carved in the woodwork. It is probably a later place of worship. From then on he developed his charge and opened churches at Howick and Panmure, for Sunday service and through the week conducted services at Slippery Creek and Wairoa.
In 1853 James had secured Section 31, in contemplation of his father coming to New Zealand. Upon the Reverend John's arrival James transferred the land to him, an area of 63 acres. Here was Salem, a home which was to become a by-word for hospitality in the family and a haven for many others. James also gave him Jack, that faithful old horse which, with his increasing blindness, became a second self to him, taking the Reverend John by well-known paths for 27 years.
His eulogies have been so often written that it is superfluous here to remark on the veneration and respect in which he was held by all and sundry. It is indicative of this feeling to record that in 1862 he was elected Moderator of the first General Assembly of the church, which was held in Auckland.
This side of his life is so well recorded that the writer deems it only necessary to restrict these remarks to the more intimate family side of his life.
After they stayed with Thomas, John Macky, Eliza and Dorcas made their home at Salem until they moved to Willow Glen in 1857.
The church site at Otara was given by Mr Thomas Baird and Mr S C Baird gave an area alongside for a manse. Here the Reverend John moved from Salem in 1877. His sight had been rapidly deteriorating but it was not until almost the end of his days (1889) that he gave up his work.
Rebecca was a staunch helpmate. Her letters, which are appended, must be read with much interest as giving an insight into a loving character whose flock was much wider than her own children.
The Reverend John was in constant request to preach in Auckland and elsewhere.
In 1889 he was relieved, at his own request, from the active duties of his pastorate, the Presbytery declaring him at the same time minister emeritus of his old charge. His successor was his son-in-law, the Reverend John Steele.
Rebecca died on May 3, 1880, ending a life of devotion and loyalty to her husband, her children and all others who came her way.
The Reverend John was not destined to live long in idleness. At the Manse at Otara, on January 23, 1891, he closed his active and devoted life.