Wet! Wet! Wet! That is how the first Highland Games of the season ended up. It was an overcast start to the day and quite mild, with the weather forecast predicting rain later. Ever optimistic, the Scottish Clans and the Highland Games organisers turned up early at the Three Kings Domain on Saturday the 21st of November, to set up everything ready for the expected crowds. In Auckland the weather tends to move through quite quickly often clearing earlier than predicted. However today was not one of those days.


Jim Donald (centre) from Clan Donald, enjoying a session of Scottish Country Dancing.

The crowds were slow to arrive, obviously put off by the weather forecast. The Highland Dancing competition retired to the indoors at a local school. Some of the Highland Games events were completed plus the medieval battles and the Scottish Country Dancing. By the time for the parade of the clans and the Opening Ceremony at 12.30 pm rain showers had started. It cleared during the ceremony and the parade finished with it quite bright.



The Clan Donald Colour Party before the start of the Clans Parade. From the left, Vice President Lynnette McDonald, Secretary & Banner Bearer Tom McDonald, Genealogist Heather Higgins, President Bruce McGechan, Vice President & Historian Carl Bradley and Barrie Paterson.



Clan Donald Colour Party lined up behind Clan Davidson at the start of the Clans Parade.



The Clan Donald Colour Party of Guard Carl Bradley, Banner Bearer Tom McDonald, Guard Barrie Paterson, President Bruce McGechan, obscured Heather Higgins and Jim Donald during a rather damp Clans Parade.


The Clan Colour Parties lined up for the Opening Ceremony with Clan Donald in the middle.

During the morning saw many members and interested people calling into the Pavilion. And by later in the afternoon many returned to shelter from the rain.

The Pipe Bands March Past and Contest started at 1 pm under dry conditions but by 2 pm the rain really started and the Contest was finally called off with many Pipe Band members, who didn’t have their Inverness Capes, looking very wet indeed.

At 3.30 pm most of the Clans started to pack up, unfortunately with very wet gear, which created a big drying out problem over the next few days.

Although the rain was a problem the day was quite a success with the number of our members calling in for a chat and some refreshments. They all expressed a desire to be at the next Highland Games at Waipu on New Years day.


The Upper Hutt Highland Gathering was held on Saturday the 7th of November in Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt just north of Wellington. Entry to the Gathering was also free. Clan MacMillan organised the Gathering with financial assistance from the local licencing trust and the Upper Hutt Council. It was a beautiful sunny day and the clan tents were at the top of a natural amphitheatre facing down to the stage.


The Avenue of Clans.


Clan Donald, was flanked on either side by Clan Mackenzie and Clan Campbell in the Avenue of Clans. A Clan Parade was held around 10 o’clock followed by the opening speeches and then Clan MacMillan held a morning tea. Clan Donald took along the haggis, which was cooked by Grant MacDonald, and free samples were given away during the day. One very young clansman gobbled up many samples, and was really happy to eat lots more. Great to start them young. Katheryn MacDonald also brought along a selection of her jewellery to display and sell.


Trish McKechnie and Kathryn MacDonald manning the Clan Donald tent.

People trying out archery.

Trish McKechnie in medieval costume with her husband John in the modern kilt.

Kathryn showing an interested spectator some chain mail.

Young Liam MacDonald in chain mail.


The Upper Hutt Gathering had a medieval flavour and many people turned up in costume. There was Sword Fighting competitions, and Horsemen, Archery, Scottish and Irish dancing and Highland cattle.


Each year Town Criers from around the world gather for the Annual Town Crying Festival to promote their Town/Village and Country.

The 2015 event was held in Central Otago in New Zealand and the local Town Crier, Paddy-Ann Pemberton, organised the event. 19 Criers came from England, Wales, Australia, Canada, the United States, and three from New Zealand. Lynley  McKerrow from Invercargill, Caroline Robinson from Palmerston North and James Donald, a member of Clan Donald Auckland, who represented and promoted the Village of Howick which is in the east of the City of Auckland.

While there is a serious and historical side to the Tournament, like ceremonial bows to officials and each other, the sweeping of hats, ringing of bells and sounding of horns, there is the fun side of promoting tourism in the Town/Village and Country that each represents. James Donald, the Howick Town Crier, reports that Howick Tourism was wrapped with the exposure.

With the Social Media of today their efforts go “International”.

James Donald has always been keen on promoting past generations’ achievements and their history, Clan Donald being one, so when the position of “Town Crier” came up for filling he accepted and is actively engaged promoting the Howick Community as ‘the best place in the world to live in’.


James Donald, Howicks Town Crier, on the right, presenting “Grey’s Folly,” a book on the history of Howick, to Tony Leeper, the Mayor of Central Otago.


The Northcote Tavern. Their Highlander Bar was the venue for the Clan Donald Auckland Pre-Christmas Lunch.

Sunday the 13th of December was a brilliant sunny day. Around 40 members of Clan Donald Auckland met in the Highlander Bar of the Northcote Tavern, for the Pre-Christmas Lunch.

Members were met as they entered, to the sound of John Hawthorn playing a selection of Scottish tunes on his accordion. This set the scene for a wonderful afternoon.

John Hawthorn welcoming members with a selection of Scottish tunes.

The President Bruce McGechan circulated throughout the bar welcoming and chatting to the many members. All were busy studying the menu, which is well known for having a great selection of dishes especially their famous Sunday Roast.

The highlight of the afternoon was when the Immediate Past President Andrew Wilkie, brought his Signals Pipe Band to the Tavern to entertain the Clan Donald members. Everyone really enjoyed their playing, and no doubt it will be something to remember over the next few months. Ian Hill, the retired Clan Donald Piper is also a member of the band.

The Signals Pipe Band playing a selection of tunes. Andrew Wilkie is third from the left.

Clan Donald members crowded outside to listen to the Signals Pipe Band. From the left Albert Kinnell, Tom Shiels, Murdock McDonald, Elaine Clark, Jeanette McFarland, Alan Bray and his wife Mary.

Following the wonderful surprise of the Signals Band, the Clan Donald members spent the rest of the afternoon chatting over a few drinks.

Barbara Hawthorn, Jeanette McFarland, Dorothy Beall, Flora Brown and Carrol Elliot enjoying a few drinks and a chat.


Bertie and Pam Kinnell long standing Clan Donald Auckland members.

The Shiels and the Williamsons. 

Geoff Parry with his mother Margaret and Lynnette McDonald. 

Rose and James Macdonald, guests at the Presidents Table.

The President Bruce McGechan with his wife Halina at the Presidents Table.


Clan Donald Canterbury held their Christmas Function at the St Albans-Merivale Bowling Club on Sunday 6th December. The function commenced at 11.30 am with a game of bowls followed by Christmas lunch served in the Club lounge.

After lunch, our President, Christine Martin presented a birthday cake to Colin MacDonald who had celebrated his 90th birthday on the 29th November. Colin and Doreen are foundation members of Clan Donald Canterbury and are still actively involved.


Adrienne Pamment shows off her bowling skills.

Ian Bright and James Thompson consider their next move.

Adrienne Pamment and Christine Martin distribute the Christmas gifts.

Ann Smith and Stan Jelley receive their gift from Christine Martin and Adrienne Pamment.

From left to right, David and Joyce McFerran, Andrea and James Thompson and Beryl Duncan.

Colin MacDonald watched by Ann Smith and Christine Martin.