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On Saturday the 14th of May, 80 guests sat down to a fabulous Laird’s Dinner. This was held in the Refectory at the Scottish Masonic Centre in Onehunga Auckland.

Early in the year Clan Donald Auckland decided to substitute the Annual Dinner for a themed dinner. It was felt that the standard format of the Annual Dinner had become too predictable. So on the instigation of the ladies on the committee, in particular Noelene McSkimming and Eileen Clark, it was decided to have a “Laird’s Dinner”.

It so happened that the Patron of Clan Donald Auckland is Allan MacDonald of Vallay, a Chieftain of Clan Macdonald of Sleat, and he graciously agreed to be the Laird for the Dinner.

The enthusiasm of these two ladies was infectious and the committee spent some months planning the event. The menu for the Dinner included smoked salmon, a baron of beef and a deep dish apple pie. There were also top quality New Zealand wines and fine Scotch Whisky.

On the day the committee changed the Refectory into a Laird’s dining hall. Wall hangings, a stag’s head plus the dressing of the tables created an amazing atmosphere of elegance and style.

The programme started with pre-dinner drinks then the official party, consisting of Alan MacDonald of Vallay and his wife Lee, The High Commissioner Harold McIsaac and his wife Mary, The President of Clan Donald Auckland Andrew Wilkie and his wife Pat and special guests Jock Davidson, the Chief of Clan Davidson, and his wife Mary, was piped in to the top table.

The official speeches were kept to a minimum and the guests had ample time to chat with other guests. There was a harpist who supplied background music and also sang Scottish and celtic songs.

Following toasts the Clan Piper Anton Hodson played a selection of tunes and was rewarded by the Laird with a quaich of whisky which he had to, by tradition, drink without stopping. The Laird also had to drink a quaich of whisky.

After Old Lang Syne it was time to go, but the guests were reluctant to leave. They had enjoyed such a fabulous evening and continued to chat with their many new friends.

The Laird’s Dinner had been so popular that tickets had sold out very quickly and unfortunately many people, including Clan Members, missed out. Next years dinner, which will probably be a themed dinner, will also be very popular, and those that missed out this year will probably be the first to book.

Noelene McSkimming giving a last minute check of the tables.


Halina McGechan, Heather Higgins and Lynnette McDonald admiring the tables.


Clan Piper Anton Hodson playing a selection of tunes.


Clan Donald Auckland President Andrew Wilkie and Jon Winder share a joke.


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