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.

Anniversary of the Massacre of Glencoe

Waipu Highland Games 2020

On a warm and sunny New Years Eve the Clan Donald Auckland team of Murdock McDonald, Jim Murdoch, Anne Marshall, Tom and Lynnette McDonald and Marni MacDonald set up the Pavilion in the Caledonian Grounds ready for the Games the next day.

After dinner at the old Clansman Motel, which has been renamed the Lighthouse Motel, some of the team patronised the New Years Eve function at the Waipu RSA. The entertainer was ‘Shane’ and his band, which played great music from the 50’s and 60’s.

New Years Day was another beautiful sunny day and the crowds soon arrived for the many events, piping, highland dancing and usual field events such as Tossing the Caber and Tossing the Sheaf.

At 9am the Waipu Pipe Band led the Parade of Clans from the monument to the Caledonian Grounds, with the host Clan Davidson leading, and their Chief Grant Davidson taking the salute as the parade passed the saluting base.


Banner Bearer Geoff Parry. In the background is Clan Donald member John McDonald.



The Clan Donald Colour Party. From the left Steve MacDonald (new member), Craig Newth, Annette Paterson partially obscured, Jim Murdoch, Barrie Paterson and Tom McDonald. Banner Bearer Geoff Parry.


The Clan Donald Pavilion had many members and friends calling in for a chat and refreshments. Fortunately, the team had extra help as Barrie and Annette Paterson, and Geoff Parry arrived at the Pavilion.

There were two lots of new members signed up. Steve MacDonald and his family, wife Violaine, son Tane and daughter Tara, and also Linda Johnson.


Steve, Tane, Tara and Violaine MacDonald.


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 clans started to pack up around 4pm. It had been a warm and busy but successful day. Everyone thought it had been a great start to the 2020 Highland Games season.

In the evening Clan Donald with members from Clan McLeod and Clan Matheson enjoyed a meal at the motel.

Several of the team attended the evening ceilidh in the Celtic Barn, where as usual, Twisty Willow provided great music and the caller for the dancing. Around two hundred visitors had a great time, and a fantastic supper which included plenty of haggis.

Next year Waipu celebrates its 150th anniversary, so the games will be extra special.