The Clan Donald Auckland team set up the Pavilion in the Caledonian Grounds on New Years Eve ready for the Games the next day.
Clan Donald has, for the last 17 years, stayed at the Clansman Motel in Waipu for the Waipu Highland Games, and has usually held a “Hogmanay” in the motel on New Years Eve. This year the accommodation was fine, but unfortunately the new owners of the motel had just taken over in late December, and were unable to arrange for the dining room and bar to be open.
So members and supporters had dinner at the local hotel before heading to the Ceilidh at the Waipu Primary School. At midnight, the New Year was piped in beside the Waipu Memorial in the Waipu Main Street.
Dawn on New Years day was fine, indicating that it was going to be a brilliant hot day for the Games. The crowds started to arrive early for the many events, piping, highland dancing and the highland heavyweight competition. A cooling breeze kept the temperature comfortable for the crowd that was estimated to be around 5,000.
There was an added attraction for the highland heavyweight competition with Susie Lajoie, the Canadian Heavyweight Champion, being allowed to compete with the men. The New Zealand Olympic Shot Put Champion, Tom Walsh also competed in the heavyweight competition.
At 9am the Waipu Pipe Band led the Parade of Clans, with the Host Clan MacLeod in the lead, from the Waipu Monument to the Caledonian Grounds
The Waipu pipe Band leads the Clans into the Caledonian Grounds.
Allan MacDonald of Vallay, Chieftain of Clan Macdonald of Sleat, was in the Clan Donald Auckland Colour Party.
From the left. Allan MacDonald of Vallay, Sergeant at Arms, Murdock McDonald, North Island Commissioner, Tom McDonald and President Barrie Paterson.
The Waipu Pipe Band playing during the raising of the flags. The Clan Donald banner is at the rear.
From the left. Tom McDonald (obscured), Geoff Parry banner bearer, Allan MacDonald of Vallay, Murdock McDonald and Barrie Paterson.
At 12.30pm the massed bands and clans paraded around the arena. This was followed by a massed Highland Fling which set the scene for the Official Opening.
The Clan Donald Pavilion had many members and friends calling in for a chat and refreshments.
Murdock McDonald on the right, discussing genealogy with the McKenzies.
After a long hot, busy and successful day the clans started to pack up around 4pm. Everyone thought it was a great Highland Games and a great start to 2019.
Those with any energy left attended the evening Ceilidh in the Caledonian Barn led by the Ceilidh Band Twisty Willow. Around two hundred visitors had a great time.
Lynnette and Tom McDonald (Obscured) during the Ceilidh.
We are all looking forward to the Games in 2020 and especially 2021, which will be the 150th Waipu Highland Games.