The Kirkin of the Tartan 2020 – Clan Donald Canterbury

The Canterbury Scottish Heritage Council held this year’s Kirkin of the Tartan on Sunday 11 October, in conjunction with The Village Presbyterian Church weekly Sunday service. This was held in their new church at 365a Ilam Road. This replaced the old St Stephens Church which was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes. There was a good number of clans represented.


Margaret Donald with the Clan Donald banner.


Robyn Forbes pictured with the Canterbury Scottish Heritage Council Banner


Ann Smith, President of Clan Donald Canterbury pipes in the banners.







Social Evening  –  Clan Donald Canterbury

As a result of Covid-19 several events for this year have had to be cancelled. Therefore to have a get together for Clan members, a social evening was held at Alan MacDonald’s house on Saturday evening 29 August 2020. It was a BYO takeaway food and drink evening attended by 14 members who enjoyed the opportunity to catch up.


Enjoying their takeaway meals are (left to right); Maggie Donald, Andrew Muskee, Raewyn Hinton, Christine Martin, Elwyn Martin, Valerie and Ian Bright.


The only event of the evening was a corporate logo quiz whereby company logos (international and local) had to be identified. Ann Smith was the winner beating Maggie Donald by a half point.


Completing the logo quiz are (left to right); Helen Ring, Maggie Donald, Raewyn Hinton, Christine Martin, Kevin Giles, Ann Smith and Linda Giles.


Hard at work identifying the logos are Andrew Muskee and Ian Bright.


Elwyn Martin and one of our younger members, Phoenix.

The Celebratory Dinner

On the evening of Saturday the 1st of August, over 100 guests attended the Celebratory Dinner, hosted by Clan Donald Auckland at the Quality Hotel in Parnell, Auckland. The Dinner was to celebrate the appointment of Andrew Wilkie as High Commissioner for New Zealand. Andrew is the third Clan Donald Auckland member to be appointed as High Commissioner. The first was Donald Webster in 2004 and then Harold McIsaac in 2007.

There were also nine Scottish Clans represented at the dinner. Clan Cameron, Clan Campbell, Clan Davidson, Clan Ferguson, Clan Gordon, Clan MacMillan, Clan Matheson, Clan MacPhee and Clan Stewart.

As the guests arrived, they were greeted to the sound of the Clarsach, the Gaelic Harp, played by Anna Dunwoodie. She played many Scottish airs which set the scene for a great Scottish evening. It was a wonderful way to start the evening, as the harp was loud enough to be heard over the chatting guests, without being intrusive.


Anna Dunwoodie playing the Clarsach, The Gaelic Harp.


The MC for the evening was James Donald, a long-time member of Clan Donald Auckland. He kept the guests entertained all evening, with his fund of quips and anecdotes



The Master of Ceremonies James Donald.


The Clan Donald Pipers, Anton Hodson and Iain Foxell, took turns piping in the Official Guests. Each group was also led in by Steve MacDonald bearing the Great Sword of Islay. The first was the Clan Donald Auckland President Jim Murdoch and partner Anne Marshall, then Tom McDonald, North Island Commissioner and Lynnette McDonald, followed by Elwyn Martin, South Island Commissioner and Christine Martin, then came Alan MacDonald High Commissioner Emeritus. We were also honoured to have Grant Davidson the Chief of Clan Davidson and his wife Brenda, then Allan MacDonald of Vallay, a Clan Donald Chieftain. Then came Glenyss O’Halloran, the High Commissioner for the House of Gordon and James McPhee, the High Commissioner for Clan MacPhee and his wife Mary. And finally, the most important guest to be piped in, was Andrew Wilkie, the High Commissioner for Clan Donald New Zealand and his wife Pat.


Iain Foxell piping in Alan MacDonald, High Commissioner Emeritus.



High Commissioner Andrew Wilkie and his wife Pat, being led in by Steve MacDonald with the
Great Sword of Islay.



The top table. From the left; Lynnette and Tom McDonald, Alan MacDonald, Anne Marshall and Jim Murdoch, Pat and Andrew Wilkie, Christine and Elwyn Martin.



Everyone then sang the unofficial Scottish national anthem “The Flower of Scotland” accompanied by Anton Hodson on the pipes. Jim Murdoch then gave the welcome speech. After Murdock McDonald gave the Selkirk Grace the soup, the first course of the dinner, was served.

A video was also played giving a welcome to all by the High Chief, Lord Godfrey Macdonald, and congratulating Andrew on his appointment as High Commissioner for Clan Donald in New Zealand, and to represent the High Council of Clan Donald.

Six members of the Signals Pipe Band, in full military dress, presented a great Haggis ceremony. Tom McDonald was the bard for the ceremony. He gave his usual excellent rendition of the Robbie Burns “Ode to a Haggis.”



The six members from the Signals Pipe Band piping in for the Haggis Ceremony.



Tom McDonald about to start the Robbie Burns “Ode to the Haggis.”


We were then entertained by the Balmoral Dancers. They are always an exciting group and great supporters of Clan Donald Auckland, having attended all the dinners for many years. They performed an exciting Sword Dance and Foursome Reel, finishing with the Highland Fling. They were accompanied by Kerry Loomis a very highly regarded piper.


Piper Kerry Loomis and the Balmoral Dancers dancing the Highland Fling.


The guests were then invited to select from the wonderful dishes at the smorgasbord, for the main course of the dinner.

It was now time for the main event at the dinner. The presentation by Alan MacDonald, High Commissioner Emeritus, the High Commissioner’s Warrant, from the Clan Donald High Council, to Andrew Wilkie. Alan explained what the Warrant contained. Andrew also had a laminated copy, which was left on the table for the guests to view.



Alan MacDonald, High Commissioner Emeritus, presenting High Commissioner Andrew Wilkie with his High Commissioner’s Warrant. 


Finally, Andrew was presented with a set of 6 Hawk’s feathers by Philip Fry, an associate of Andrew’s from the Auckland Officers Club. Normally Chiefs, Chieftains and Commissioners wear feathers in their glengarries or bonnets. 3 feathers for a Chief, 2 feathers for a Chieftain and High Commissioner, and 1 feather for a Commissioner. The feathers are normally eagle feathers. However, it was very appropriate that Andrew should have a set of New Zealand Hawk’s Feathers.



Philip Fry presenting Andrew with a set of 6 New Zealand Hawk’s feathers.


A final surprise at the dinner, was a humorous introduction by Murdock McDonald for the presentation of a Clan Donald Life Membership to Tom McDonald. Tom has given sterling service as Secretary for 18 years, to Clan Donald Auckland. The actual certificate was presented to Tom by the President Jim Murdoch.


Murdock McDonald giving a humorous introduction to Tom McDonald’s Life Membership presentation.



Tom McDonald showing his Life Membership certificate.


The evening was rounded off with a couple of toasts and a Valedictory speech by the President Jim Murdoch.  A great night was had by all.

Clan Donald New Zealand 10th Annual General Meeting

The AGM of the Associated Clan Donald Societies of New Zealand was hosted by Clan Donald Auckland on the afternoon of the 1st of August at the Quality Hotel in Parnell Auckland.

Present were Christine Martin, President/Secretary CDNZ, Andrew Wilkie, High Commissioner, Alan MacDonald, High Commissioner Emeritus, Tom McDonald, North Island Commissioner, Elwyn Martin, South Island Commissioner, Jim Murdoch, President Clan Donald Auckland, Lynnette McDonald, Vice President Clan Donald Auckland, Murdock McDonald, James Donald and Barrie Paterson from Clan Donald Auckland, David McDonald, Vice President Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay, David Moore, President Clan Donald Wellington, and Hilary Pearce and Brent Tomlinson from Clan Donald Canterbury.

There was a complete change of the administration of CDNZ. The outgoing President/ Secretary Christine Martin, Vice President Roz McKechnie and Treasurer Patricia McKechnie were thanked for their contribution over the last few years.

The new committee is President Jim Murdoch, Vice President James Donald, Secretary Tom McDonald and Treasurer Geoff Parry.

The new committee will be working through a programme of review, and more importantly setting the direction for CDNZ into the future. The first task is to appoint a new Editor for the Newsletter, which is an important publication for communicating to the Clan Donald membership throughout New Zealand.

The major advantage with the members of the committee being in Auckland, is that there will be regular monthly meetings, followed by up to date communications to the 6 Clan Donald Societies.







Tartan Day Lunch – Scottish Heritage Council

On July the 19th thirty two members from several Scottish Clans joined  the Scottish Heritage Council for the annual Tartan Day luncheon. The Clans that were in attendance were Clan Ross, Clan Grant, Clan Campbell, Clan Davidson, Clan MacLeod, Clan Cochrane, Clan Johnston/e and twelve members of Clan Donald.

We were slightly later holding the event this year, but it was pleasing that arrangements could still be made for the month of July. Our venue was once again Lincoln University and the two course buffet was enjoyed by all.

The Haggis Party. Ann Smith, President of the Scottish Heritage Council, Ian Grant of Clan Grant, Gordon McIvor, Chief of the Scottish Society and Paul McOscar of Clan Donald.


Gordon McIvor and Ian Grant during the procession of the Haggis Party.


Piper Ann Smith playing during the Haggis Ceremony.


Each year we have an activity to complete, that involves all at the various tables, and provides an opportunity to create fun and laughter. This year we had to write a story made up of set bagpipe tunes. All entries were excellent so all were winners. Below is an excerpt from Clan Donald. The tunes are in italics.

Alex C McGregor was Up early in the Morning, to go to Marie’s Wedding at Borve Castle. The Eavesdropper heard The Men of Argyll under The Old Rustic Bridge fixing Paddy’s Leather Breeches. Old Hag You Have Killed Me said The Black Bear. Golly, The Ale is Dear. The Balmoral Highlanders were singing The Flower of Scotland as they entered the church. Lady Carol, mother of the bride was The Rose Among the Heather as she tripped into The Waters Of Kylesku. The Piper of Drummond played Hail to the Chief as Marie was piped out of the castle. Everyone was told to Have a Dram Before You Go.

It was suggested that the piper play all they tunes but he was overruled…


Dave Gibb of Clan Cochrane reading out his story with Ann Smith.


Christine Toner of Clan Johnstone reads her story to the gathering.

Announcement of New High Commissioner

The following announcement is from Major Bruce W Macdonald, Ret’d, the Chamberlain to The High Council of Clan Donald, Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that the High Council of Clan Donald has accepted the nomination of Mr Andrew Wilkie of Auckland, New Zealand and has agreed to appoint him as Their High Commissioner for New Zealand.

The High Council is confident that all Their good Clansmen and Clanswomen of Clan Donald in New Zealand, its Septs and Adherents will acknowledge reverence, honour, and obey the said Andrew Wilkie. Furthermore, the High Council expects their other High Commissioners, Clan officers and officials, and good clansmen and clanswomen throughout the world, its Septs and Adherents to assist Andrew in the conduct of his duties.

In addition, the High Council of Clan Donald extends its thanks and deep appreciation to Alan MacDonald, Their current High Commissioner, for the three years of loyal service as the High Commissioner to New Zealand.”

The High Commissioner Alan MacDonald has also made the following announcement.

“Dear All,

It gives me great pleasure to announce that our nomination of Andrew Wilkie has been accepted by the High Council and Andrew has been appointed High Commissioner effective 1 July 2020.

I am sure you will join me in congratulating Andrew and giving him your support and assistance.

It has been a pleasure to be High Commissioner and I have very much enjoyed working with you all for the benefit of our great Clan.

A special thank you to my 2 Commissioners, Elwyn and Tom who have assisted me during my 2 terms.

Best Wishes




Patangata Tavern Lunch – Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay

A group of Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay members met for lunch on Saturday the 7th of March at the well known Patangata Tavern in Central Hawke’s Bay.

The Tavern is on its own in the countryside and around 12 kilometres towards the east coast from Waipawa, and virtually next to the Tukituki River. The Tukituki River is one of two major rivers that flow from the Ruahine Mountain range through Waipukurau to the East Coast. The other is the Waipawa River which also flows from the Ruahine Mountain range through Waipawa and joins up with the Tukituki River.

The Patangata Tavern is regarded as one of the best places for a fantastic lunch in Central Hawke’s Bay. As it is such a favourite we booked well in advance, and the people who own the Tavern are relatives of Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay member Bruce Parker. This didn’t mean that we got any better service as the Tavern has a reputation for looking after all customers.

The Clan Donald members came from Napier and Hastings, Waipukurau and Waipawa as well as Dannevirke. This gives an indication of the spread of the membership of Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay.

Even as it was a bit of a blustery Autumn day, everyone enjoyed the lunch and had a chance for a good chat.

All too soon it was time to return home.

After lunch we had to have a group photograph. From the left. President Bruce McGechan, Don Ellis, Jill Macdonald, Halina McGechan, Doug McGechan, Glennis McDonald and Secretary Ruth Parker and Bruce Parker.

Petanque Competition – Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay

A small but very keen group of Clan Donald Hawke’s Bay members gathered for the first event of the year. This was held at Bruce and Halina McGechan’s   residence in Waipawa in Central Hawke’s Bay, on Saturday the 22nd of February.

After putting the final touches to the pavilion, it was time for a break, and although it was slightly overcast it was very warm, so everyone relaxed with a cool drink.

Around 10.30am it was time to start the competition. There were three teams made up as follows: The McGechan Team of Bruce and Halina, The Parker Team of Ruth and Bruce Parker, and the Ellis Team of Don Ellis and Doug McGechan.


Standing from the left, Bruce McGechan, Ruth Parker, Don Ellis and Bruce Parker. Seated Halina McGechan and Doug McGechan.


Each team selected which boules they would use, and the first game was between the McGechan and Ellis teams, which was won by the McGechan team.


Don Ellis, Bruce Parker and Bruce and Doug McGechan selecting the boules for their teams.


Halina McGechan about to play her third boule while being watched by Don Ellis.


Halina’s third boule was still no closer than her first boule. 


The next game was between the Parker and McGechan teams, and this time the Parker team well and truly beat the McGechan team.

It was jokingly suggested that Ruth must have been practising a lot, as she was so accurate during the game. She placed her boules so close to the jack, blocking the opposition, and also knocking away the opposition boules. She was a natural being so consistent throughout the competition.


Bruce McGechan and Bruce Parker checking that the Parker team had well and truly won the game.


Ruth Parker and Doug McGechan watching the games from the shade.


After a couple more games everyone enjoyed some refreshments before lunch.



Enjoying refreshments before lunch are Halina and Bruce McGechan, Doug McGechan, Don Ellis and Bruce Parker.


The competition continued, after lunch, with another round of games. This time The McGechan team managed to beat the Parker team by one point. However, that was the only time, with the Parker team beating both the McGechan team again as well as the Ellis team. Then it was the turn of the Ellis team to beat the McGechan team.



Don Ellis on the right, carefully watching Bruce Parker about to throw his third boule.


The boules being cleared away after the last game.


The winner of the Petanque Competition was the Parker team, which was no wonder with Ruth being such a natural player. Second was the Ellis team and of course the McGechan team was last.

Afternoon tea and coffee was served, as well as other refreshments, and then the winning Parker team were presented with a couple of bottles of sparking wine. One bottle was opened immediately, and everyone drank to a great day and a very enjoyable competition.


The winning Parker team in the centre, flanked by Bruce McGechan and Don Ellis on the left, and Doug McGechan on the right.


Everyone enjoying some of the winners sparkling wine. Guess who is taking the photograph?


Everyone enjoying some of the winners sparkling wine. Guess who is taking the photograph?