Blair Hodson had a great year in 2015. He won Grade B at the Waipu Highland Games, the Hastings Highland Games and the Otago Centre Queens Birthday Competition. These are considered to be the three most prestigious competitions in New Zealand.
Blair seems to have a talent for the Piobaireachd, where he placed 1st at Waipu and won the Dunedin Silver Medal for Piobaireachd. He was also placed 1st at both Waipu and Hastings for the March, Strathspey and Reel proving that he is a well rounded piper.
Blair also competed in the Highland Piper’s Society of Canterbury’s Silver Chanter Solo Piping Championships 2015 B Grade, where he was placed 1st for the 6/8 March and 3rd for the Strathspey and Reel.
Blair is descended from a long line of pipers. The first were from the McIsaac family who arrived in Nelson in May 1842. Richard and Jean McIsaac with their children had left Glasgow for their new life in New Zealand on board the sailing ship, the “Clifford”. They settled in Renwick, a small town in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough.
The McIsaac family were involved in establishing the Scottish Society of Marlborough Highland Pipe Band in 1916, and in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s there were a number of McIsaac’s involved in this band.
Anton Hodson, Blair’s father, played in this band in the 1960’s unaware of his mother’s family connection. It wasn’t until the McIsaac family had a reunion in 1994, that the connection was made, when a lot of stories about the pipers were told.
Blair is descended from his father’s grandmother, who was the granddaughter of the emigrants from Scotland. His cousins in Blenheim and Nelson also play the pipes.
A talent such as Blair’s, tends to confirm the old Gaelic saying “often the pipers are the seventh son of the seventh son”.
23 year old Blair, is also a Clan Piper for Clan Donald Auckland, and has been for the last 5 years along with his father Anton.
Clan Donald Auckland has several pipers as members, including the President Bruce McGechan, and it has been of great interest to see Blair’s progress over the years. He is a fantastic talented piper who is just coming into maturity and has now progressed to A Grade.
Blair also plays for the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band who have been the New Zealand Grade 1 Champions for the last five years. This band has also competed, for the last three years, at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow Scotland, gaining an 11th place in 2013, 9th in 2014 and 10th last year. A fantastic result, when competing against the top pipe bands from around the world.
Blair Hodson. New Zealand B Grade Champion for 2015.