Scottish Ceilidh Club – Auckland

The Scottish Ceilidh Club held a ceilidh on Friday the 26th of October. Clan Donald Auckland had quite a few members in attendance, to enjoy a great session of ceilidh dancing. Heather Laird, from the club, had a well organised programme, and Jennifer Dean, an Honorary Member of Clan Donald Auckland, called the dances.

Live music was supplied by a group of fiddlers, accompanied by John Hawthorn, from Clan Donald, on his piano accordion.

Cameron, Jennifer Dean’s son, gave a few tunes on the pipes after supper.

It was a great evening with everyone enjoying the dances, and the next ceilidh by the Auckland Scottish Ceilidh Club will be a Christmas themed function on Friday the 30th of November.


Clan Donald Members from the left. Mary and Alan Bray, Lynette McDonald, John and Barbara Hawthorn and Doug and Janet Williamson.


More Clan Donald Members. From the left. Annette Paterson, Andrew Wilkie, Doug and Mary Bray, Lynnette and Tom McDonald, North Island Commissioner, John and Barbara Hawthorn and Clan Donald Auckland President Barrie Paterson.


Cameron Dean playing a few pipe tunes after supper.

Clan Donald Auckland Luncheon and Movie “Whisky Galore”

On Saturday the 13th of October, 24 members of Clan Donald Auckland enjoyed a great luncheon of a roast, cooked in a wood-burning oven at Ryders in Avondale, followed by the movie “Whisky Galore”.

This was a 2016 remake of the movie. The tiny island of Todday runs out of whisky during World War II. The grounding of the freighter SS Cabinet Minister with 50,000 cases of whisky saves the day.


From the left. Laurie and Marlene Mathews, Margaret and Geoff Parry and Lynnette McDonald enjoy a pre-luncheon drink and chat.


Lunch is served.


Members enjoy an ice cream ahead of the movie.


The movie gets started.




Clan Donald Canterbury’s Weekend Away 28-30th September 2018

Each year Clan Donald Canterbury go on an away weekend. These weekends are a lot of fun and provide a great opportunity to get to know other members and build strong friendships. This helps in keeping the society strong. In previous years we have visited Blenheim, Hanmer Springs, Ashburton, Dunedin, Geraldine, Rangiora and Oamaru. This year 14 members went to the small North Canterbury country township of Cheviot which is just over 110 kms north of Christchurch.



We stayed two nights at the Cheviot Motel and Holiday Park which is located on the edge of the town set in peaceful countryside. The site is 5 acres containing beautifully landscaped grounds and garden. Neighbouring paddocks contained sheep and lambs.


You know you are in the country when a local farmer drives a small mob of ewes and lambs right past the motel.


First event arranged by our Secretary, Margaret Donald was Mt Beautiful wine tasting which was held at The Twin River Café in Cheviot.



Pictured at the Wine Tasting (Left to right) Irvine Kinraid, Ann Smith, Margaret Donald, Heather Bastida, Sally Wihone.

Back row, Alison Kinraid, Alan MacDonald, Helen Ring, Christine and Elwyn Martin.


Saturday the 29th September was a gorgeous spring day which was spent in Kaikoura. It was interesting to see the work completed (and still underway) on SH1 and the main rail line required as a result of the November 2016 earthquake. We had lunch in Kaikoura and visited various areas around town.


View overlooking Kaikoura town with the Seaward Kaikoura Range in the background.


Saturday night dinner at the Cheviot Hotel. Pictured left to right. Alison Kinraid, Irvine Kinraid, Heather Bastida, Sally Wihone, Valerie Bright, Ian Bright, Helen Ring and Ann Smith.


On Sunday morning we played bowls at the Cheviot Bowling Club before returning to Christchurch.


Pictured at the Cheviot Bowling Club. Front row (left to right). Elwyn Martin, Helen Ring, Ann Smith, Alan MacDonald

Back row (left to right). Andrew Muskee, Margaret Donald, Ian Bright, Christine Martin, Sally Wihone, Raewyn Hinton, Valerie Bright, Irvine Kinraid.


The Old Leithfield Hotel


On the way back to Christchurch we stopped for lunch at the historic Leithfield Hotel where we were joined by Clan Donald Canterbury members, Cath and Bob Lyall. After lunch and watching the All Blacks play Argentina on the large tv screen in the bar, we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways home. We all agreed it had been another enjoyable weekend away and our thanks go to Margaret Donald for her work in arranging the accommodation and events.

Dedication of Memorial Tables for Clans who Fought in the Battle of Prestonpans

In September I attended the Dedication of the Memorial Tables for Clans and British Regiments who fought in the Battle of Prestonpans. My father, Colin MacDonald, who is a member of the Committee of High Patronage of The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust, received an invitation to attend the ceremony as representor of the Glencoe MacDonalds. Unfortunately, it was not possible for him to do so and I attended on his behalf. Clan Donald Canterbury member, Brent Tomlinson was also on holiday in the UK at this time and was able to attend.

The Battle of Prestonpans was the first significant conflict in the Jacobite Rising of 1745. The Battle took place early morning on 21st September 1745. The Jacobite army led by Charles Edward Stuart achieved a stunning victory over the government army led by Sir John Cope. The government force was between 2,200 to 2,800 strong while the Jacobite army numbered between 2000 and 2,500.

The inexperienced government troops were outflanked and broke in the face of a highland charge. The battle was over in less than 15 minutes. The victory was a huge morale boost for the Jacobites. Hundreds of government troops were killed or wounded and 1500 taken prisoner. Only 170 escaped. The Jacobite Army suffered fewer than 100 troops killed or wounded.

The MacDonald Clans played a major role in this battle, making up nearly half the Jacobite force.

The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust was established in 2006 to ensure a much better presentation and opportunity for visitors to gain a comprehensive understanding of the battle.

The Trust has campaigned since 2006 for a proper memorial which lists the Clans and Regiments that were involved. They recently received a grant to create two Memorial Tables, one for each side in the combat.

Last year The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust put out the Call to all those Clans which fought with the Prince at Prestonpans and to the “Successor” Regiments of those engaged there in support of the government in 1745 serving the British Army today to share in the Dedication.

The Dedication was held on 15th September 2018. The events included a Grand Parade, the commemoration ceremony, living history camps, military displays and a spectacular battle re-enactment. The Memorial Tables are located on the old wagonway which ran across the battlefield. The Tables are very impressive and provide a fitting memorial to those involved in the battle.

I was also impressed by the quality of the re-enactors who strive to be as accurate and authentic in appearance as possible. This includes those not directly involved in the battle re-enactment but who were present in a support role. The strict adherence to the period with the provision of props such as tents, furniture, cooking facilities etc added to the level of realism achieved.

The Grand Parade passed through the town of Prestonpans to the Sports Centre where the re-enactment events were held.

The Memorial Table to the Clans who took part in the battle. Alan MacDonald and Brent Tomlinson on the far right.

Alan MacDonald pictured with Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Clan Donald Canterbury member, Brent Tomlinson with one of the re-enactors.

Re-enactors prepare their meal before the battle re-enactment later in the day.

Bonnie Prince Charlie’s War Council.

Bonnie Prince Charlie plans for the battle over lunch.

The government forces prepare for battle.

The government forces fire a fusillade from their muskets.

The Clans prepare to charge.

The Highland charge.

Victory is quickly achieved.

For more information visit the Trust’s very good website:

Article courtesy of Alan MacDonald, High Commissioner for Clan Donald in New Zealand

Clan Donald Hawkes Bay Annual Dinner & Kirking of the Tartan

Clan Donald Hawkes Bay held its annual Scottish dinner on 7 July 2018 at the Community Centre in Havelock North. The event was attended by 34 people including local Clan Donald members, members of the Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury Societies, and others who enjoyed the Scottish atmosphere and entertainment.

From Auckland, President Barrie Paterson, North Island Commissioner Tom and Lynnette McDonald, and Murdock McDonald attended, as did Past Auckland President (now resident in Hawkes Bay) Bruce McGechan. From Christchurch, High Commissioner Alan MacDonald and National President Christine Martin and South Island Commissioner Elwyn Martin made the journey north. From Wellington we had President David Moore and John and Trish McKechnie.


From the left. Wellington President David Moore, North Island Commissioner Tom McDonald, Auckland President Barrie Paterson, High Commissioner Alan MacDonald, South Island Commissioner Elwyn Martin and New Zealand President Christine Martin.


The evening commenced with a cleansing draft for all guests of Athol Brose, which had been specially prepared by Hawkes Bay President David McDonald according to an ancient Scottish recipe. We then moved on to a traditional Haggis ceremony, with the Haggis being addressed by David McDonald.


From the left. Guard David Daysh, Bard David McDonald, Haggis Bearer Alan MacDonald, Guard Tom McDonald and Whisky Bearer David Moore.


Clan Donald Hawkes Bay’s Piper Maurice Chisnall, piped the Haggis and later in the evening played an extended bracket of pipe music, much to the delight of those present. Maurice is also the Pipe Major of the City of Hastings Pipe Band, and the Clan Donald Hawkes Bay counts itself very lucky that he makes himself available for occasions such as this. His piping was certainly the high point of the evening.


Clan Piper Maurice Chisnall playing a set of pipe tunes.


Doug McGechan from Hawkes Bay and Tom McDonald from Auckland singing the Scottish Anthem “The Flower of Scotland.”


Bruce McGechan having a chat with Maurice Chisnall about pipe music and pipe bands.


From the left John McKechnie, Alan MacDonald, Murdock McDonald, Trish McKechnie and David Moore having a good discussion over dinner.


There was also a short meeting after the dinner to confirm the appointment of the Clan Donald New Zealand Vice President Roz McKechnie from Otago


Wellington President David Moore, High Commissioner Alan MacDonald and Hawkes Bay President David McDonald at the meeting after the dinner.


New Zealand President Christine Martin and Secretary/Treasurer Trish McKechnie discussing a point during the meeting after the dinner.


On the following morning, Sunday 8th July 2018, a Kirking of the Tartan service was held as part of the regular Sunday morning service at St Columba’s Presbyterian Church in Havelock North, which was attended by Elwyn and Christine Martin, Tom and Lynnette McDonald, John and Trish McKechnie, David and Jill McDonald and David Moore, with an informal lunch to follow at the local pub. As always, the congregation and the Minister at St Columba’s were very welcoming to the Clan Donald contingent and fully participated in the Kirking of the Tartan, with Clan tartans being brought to the front of the church and laid on the Communion Table. The Minister, interim Moderator Craig Kilgour wore his kilt for the occasion, and adapted the service to fit in with the theme. As part of the service “Flower of Scotland” was sung by the congregation, accompanied on the pipes by Piper Graeme Buchanan. After the service the leftover Haggis was served up to all present, and was much appreciated.


Minister Craig Kilgour in the pulpit at the Kirking of the Tartan, and showing the Communion Table with Clan Tartans placed on it.


Piper Graeme Buchnan playing at the Kirking of the Tartan. Minister Craig Kilgour in the pulpit.


All in all, it was a very successful weekend, and Clan Donald Hawkes Bay thanks all those who took the time to visit Hawkes Bay to participate. It would certainly not have been the same without you.

Clan Donald Canterbury Tea

Members of Clan Donald Canterbury were invited by long standing members, Cath and Bob Lyall, to their home for a special afternoon tea on Sunday 17th June to celebrate Cath’s birthday.

About 20 members attended and were treated to the customary Lyall hospitality.

It was great to gather together in Cath and Bob’s lovely home, catch up over a cup of tea and enjoy the wonderful afternoon tea provided.


Cath and Bob Lyall


Ann Smith wishes Cath a happy birthday


The afternoon tea