156th Turakina Highland Games 2020

Saturday the 25th of January was very hot and sunny, but with a blustery breeze, which unfortunately became quite windy in the afternoon.

The avenue of clans unfortunately suffered the most from the wind in the afternoon as the avenue was on the south side of the Turakina Domain.

There were 18 clans represented including Clan Donald Wellington with the President David Moore and also the North Island Commissioner Tom McDonald and his wife Lynnette. Later in the morning they were visited by Bruce McGechan the President of Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay and his brother Doug McGechan and Don Ellis who are both members of Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay.


Hillary and David Moore, President of Clan Donald Wellington, with their hats that were needed on such a sunny day.


David Moore and Carol MacKay in front of the Clan Donald Wellington tent.


Doug and Bruce McGechan and Don Ellis from Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay


The Turakina Highland Games is the oldest in New Zealand being established in 1864. It has in recent years grown to be the largest as well. The Turakina Domain was almost at bursting point with a very large crowd, and the centre of the grounds was also crowded with a great range of commercial stalls.

There were 9 solo piping competition boards with a range of competitions including New Zealand and Wellington Championship events, plus 2 solo drumming competition boards.

There was a great range of Highland dancing competitions covering both the North Island and Wellington Centre Championships.

At 12.30pm there was the Clans March led by the combined pipe bands of Rangitikei, Manawatu, Horowhenua, and Wanganui. Unfortunately, with such a large crowd and the centre of the grounds crowded with commercial stalls, the Clans March had difficulty completing the circuit.


The combined Pipe Bands leading the Clans March.


In the centre David Moore and Lynnette McDonald carrying the banner with Tom McDonald the North Island Commissioner obscured.


In the afternoon there was the first Pipe Band Competition of the season with 11 bands competing from Wellington, Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay and Rotorua, and ranging from Grade 4 to Grade 1.

A new initiative was the “Have a Go” sessions. People were invited to try “Bagpiping,” “Scottish Drumming,” and “Mace Flourishing.”

The field events were for both adults and children. These events included Toss the Caber, Toss the Sheaf, Farmers Walk, and the Carry the Stones, which is the heavyweight event. There was also a Tug of War for both adults and children.


Some of the members of the West Coast Regiment watching competitors in the Heavyweight event.


At around 5pm there was the massed band display followed by the traditional Scottish Haggis ceremony before the Prizegiving.

In the evening there was a ceilidh with music by the band Bowmore.