Clan Donald Supports New Zealand Pipe Bands

At the 2017 National Pipe Band Contest in Nelson in March, the Grade 3 Champion Pipe Band was presented with a cash prize from the Clan Donald Lands Trust.

The Clan Donald Lands Trust is fully committed to supporting Gaelic culture in all its forms.

It was decided that the cash prize of $1,000, to be known as The Annual Harold McIsaac Memorial Prize, would be presented at the 2017 National Contest. In particular, to the Grade 3 Champion Band, and the money to be used to fund tuition for both piping and drumming. It was felt that the Grade 3 Bands needed greater help to improve their performance than the Grade 1 and Grade 2 bands.

Doug McIsaac, the son of Harold McIsaac, was honoured to be asked to present the prize.

Originally the prize was to be presented to the champion band after the Grade 3 contest. However the weather was particularly bad and instead Doug McIsaac had the opportunity to present the prize to Allister MacGregor, the President of the Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands’ Association, at the pre-contest lunch. The President Allister delivered the award at the Official Presentation.

The exceptionally bad weather was a surprise to everyone, as Nelson is regarded as one of the two sunniest cities in New Zealand.

The following is the speech Doug delivered at the lunch.

“Mr President.

It is my great pleasure to be here today, on behalf of the Clan Donald Lands Trust, Armadale, Isle of Skye, to present to you The Annual Harold McIsaac Memorial Prize. A sum of $1,000, to be awarded to the overall winning pipe band of the Grade 3 Championship.

A cheque from Clan Donald Auckland for $500 will also be sent to the 2nd and 3rd placed bands in the Grade 3 Contest.

Harold McIsaac, a highly qualified chartered accountant from Auckland’s North Shore, joined the Board of the Clan Donald Lands Trust some nine years ago, at a time when the Trust was sailing in uneasy waters.

Harold carried out a Jurisprudence examination of the affairs of the Trust’s 20,000 acres of business, and shortly after, the Trust was back in smooth waters.

Harold McIsaac was responsible for, among other things, the funding, establishment and direction of a Deer Processing Plant at Armadale on the Isle of Skye.

My brother Andy and I enjoyed a highly successful Father and Sons pilgrimage to the land of our forefathers. On this trip we experienced true Celtic hospitality and all things Scottish. Unlike what I have enjoyed listening to today, we also endured the worst piper in Scotland. Turns out, this piper is actually British, and had been piping to earn enough money for a return ticket to England. He had been piping for some 20 years.

Sadly, on the 28th of June 2014, our father passed away unexpectedly. The Trust’s promotion of this ongoing Memorial Prize, is a Memoriam to the love that Harold McIsaac had for Scottish Culture, pipers and pipe bands included.

I wish all the pipers in this special competition much success.

It is now my very great pleasure to present you with The Annual Harold McIsaac Memorial Prize of $1,000 to be awarded to The Grade 3 Champion Band at your Presentation Ceremony tomorrow.


The Scottish Society of New Zealand Pipe Band from Christchurch. The 2017 Grade 3 Champion Pipe Band.


The Scottish Society of New Zealand Pipe Band marching on.


The Scottish Society Pipe Band of New Zealand during the Street March competition.


The Scottish Society of New Zealand after receiving the Annual Harold McIsaac Memorial Prize.



Clan Donald Lands Trust’s Commitment to Gaelic Performing Arts

The ancient MacDonald Lords of the Isles saw it as their responsibility to support, encourage, and develop the Gaelic culture in all its forms. The Lords of the Isles built churches, supported monasteries, were patrons of dancing, clarsach playing (the traditional Gaelic harp), poetry and, of course, piping. For more than thirty years, the Clan Donald Lands Trust, in the name of great Clan Donald, has been pleased to carry on this important responsibility.

The Clan Donald Lands Trust’s flagship cultural competition, which marked its 30th anniversary in 2016, is its annual piobraireachd competition known as the Donald MacDonald Quaich. Perhaps the most prestigious piobraireachd competition in the world, the Donald MacDonald Quaich is named after the legendary Donald MacDonald. Born about 1750, Donald MacDonald was a pupil of the MacArthurs, the hereditary pipers to the MacDonalds of Skye. He later moved to Edinburgh, establishing himself as a maker of Highland and other bagpipes. At that time, the premier award for playing of the piobaireachd was a Prize Pipe, awarded annually by the Highland Society of London, which Donald won in 1817.

In 1822, he published a book of piobaireachd, written in a staff notation of his devising, which has remained the basis on which subsequent editors of piobaireachd have worked. Without the work of Donald MacDonald, it is conceivable that much of the Highland musical heritage would have been lost.

In 2016, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Donald MacDonald Quaich, the Clan Donald Lands Trust launched the first annual Young Musician Scholarships. Prizes will be offered for the best young piper and player of the clarsach.

The Clan Donald Lands Trust also sponsors junior piping competitions at the Isle of Skye Highland Games and the Northern Meeting in Inverness. It funds local clarsach tuition, and has provided twelve clarsachs on long-term loan to local schools.

2017 also marks the beginning of an annual adult clarsach competition which will take place at Armadale Castle in concert with the Donald MacDonald Quaich.

In 2016, the Clan Donald Lands Trust awarded the first annual prize for the Best of Games North American Pipe Band. This $1000 prize is known as The Ellice and Rosa McDonald Memorial Prize.

In 2017, the Clan Donald Lands Trust will be adding similar annual prizes for pipe bands in Australia, to be known as The AWR MacDonald Memorial Prize, and in New Zealand, to be known as The Harold McIsaac Memorial Prize.

The Clan Donald Lands Trust is fully committed to continuing its support of the Gaelic performing arts, and looks forward to additional opportunities to recognise and support Gaelic artists.

Clan Donald Canterbury 2017 Quiz Night

On Friday night, the 16th June, Clan Donald Canterbury submerged themselves, as usual, into a night of fun and laughter at the start of their winter social calendar.

We congregated at Christine and Elwyn Martin’s house for a quiz night. Members were in teams of two with Adrienne Pamment as quizmaster and Christine Martin as her assistant picking up the answers and helping with the drinks and nibbles.

Adrienne Pamment, Event Coordinator and quizmaster


Enjoying the quiz are Margaret Donald, Val Gunn and Irvine Kinraid


After a general knowledge round, we were required to name the famous faces pictured on a large board. This was to test our knowledge of who’s who in the world of entertainment in New Zealand and around the world.


Winners of the Famous Faces quiz, Valerie Bright and Raewyn Hinton.


Irvine and Alison Kinraid with the spoils of victory in the General Knowledge round.


The final round was a series of multi choice questions. Alan MacDonald and Helen Ring failed to deliver in this area but hopefully they will come back to conquer all when we hold a quiz night in November on our weekend away trip to Oamaru.

Thank you for a fun evening, a lovely supper and for the use of Christine and Elwyn’s home. Our next event is the Tartan Day luncheon on Sunday 2nd July.


Ian Bright and Andrew Muskee enjoy getting the last place prize.

Clan Donald Auckland 20th Anniversary Dinner

On a beautiful but cool Autumn evening on the 6th of May, members and friends of Clan Donald Auckland gathered in the Rutherford Room of Alexandra Park for the 20th Anniversary Dinner.

It was a very auspicious occasion for Clan Donald Auckland as this was the celebration of the society becoming incorporated in 1997. The significance was commented upon by many of the guests during pre-dinner drinks. It was also of note that two of the original four Foundation Members, were present. John Hawthorn the original Secretary, and Elwyn Martin, the current South Island Commissioner. The other two, Murdo MacDonald and Donald Webster, have unfortunately died. All four, had been presented with the “Fear Bunachar” (Foundation Member) medal by Lady Lois MacDonell, the Widow of the 22nd Chief of MacDonell of Glengarry, during her visit in 2002.

Around 6.30pm, the 63 guests were piped to their tables by the Clan Piper Anton Hodson.

The evenings programme started with the piping in of the Official Party led by the Clan Piper Anton Hodson, followed by the President Barrie Paterson and his wife Annette, the North Island Commissioner Tom McDonald and his wife Lynnette, and The South Island Commissioner Elwyn Martin and his wife Christine.

The President welcomed the guests and said that there was not only a traditional Scottish dinner menu but great entertainment as well. Our old friends the Balmoral Dancers, and a special treat with a performance by the Auckland Grammar School Pipe Band.

The Guest Speaker for the evening was our Patron and very first President Murdock McDonald. The subject of his address was the very early days and establishment of Clan Donald Auckland.


Our Patron Murdock McDonald and daughter Janet

The MC for the evening was Andrew Wilkie. Andrew kept everything buzzing along with his fund of amusing jokes and quips. We are extremely lucky to have Andrew as he has carried out the function of MC for many of our dinners, and he always seems to have the talent for keeping the occasion moving in a light-hearted fashion.

The MC Andrew Wilkie
Tom McDonald gave the Selkirk Grace followed by the first course of Scotch Broth, served with Scottish Baps.


Two long standing Clan Donald Auckland members Pat and Doug McIsaac

The first entertainment item of the evening was the Auckland Grammar School Pipe Band.


The Auckland Grammar Pipe Band after their performance.

The Pipe Band has a close association with Clan Donald Auckland. Their Tutor is the Clan Donald Piper Anton Hodson. And in 2012 the then High Commissioner and President of Clan Donald Auckland Harold McIsaac, presented the Band with a complete set of kilts. Harold was an “Old Boy” of the Auckland Grammar School, and as his Clan was MacDonald of Clanranald the kilts are in that tartan.

The next entertainment was the Haggis Ceremony. The Haggis Party, Guards Glen McPhee and Jon Winder, Haggis Bearer Bryan Haggitt, Whisky Bearer Doug McIsaac and Bard Tom McDonald were piped in by Anton Hodson.

Tom McDonald gave his usual rendition of the Robbie Burns “Ode to the Haggis.”

The Haggis Party. From the left, Doug McIsaac, Glen McPhee, Tom McDonald, Bryan Haggitt, Jon Winder and Anton Hodson.

Following the serving of the Haggis, Tatties and Neeps, we were entertained by the Balmoral Dancers. Our old friends the Balmoral Dancers have entertained at every annual dinner and for the 20th Anniversary Dinner they brought along 20 dancers. They gave a selection of Highland Dances and for the finale all 20 were on stage. Their very impressive performances, were accompanied by Brian Switalla, a well-known and very talented piper.

All 20 Balmoral Dancers on Stage for the finale.



The Balmoral Dancers performing the Highland Fling


The main course consisted of roast beef or pork with a selection of fresh vegetables.


Pat and Andrew Wilkie


Eileen Clark, Jon and Diane Winder, Lochie Cameron and Noelene McSkimming



Lynnette McDonald, Vice President Clan Donald Auckland, and Christine Martin, President Clan Donald Canterbury and President of Clan Donald New Zealand.


During the evening there were a series of Toasts. James McPhee gave the Toast to Clan Donald Auckland.


The Special 20th Anniversary Cake.

This was followed by the cutting of the special 20th Anniversary Cake, baked by Annette Paterson. The cutting of the cake, was carried out by Elwyn Martin and John Hawthorne, the two Foundation Members. They were also proudly wearing their “Fear Bunachar” medals.


Elwyn Martin and John Hawthorn


After the dessert of “Apple Crumble” Heather Higgins gave the Toast to the Visitors.

Heather Higgins


During tea and coffee the Guest Speaker Murdock McDonald gave a very erudite address on the foundation and progress of Clan Donald Auckland including the very early days, and the special visits of Ranald Macdonald, The Chief and Captain of Clanranald. who was at the 10th Anniversary Dinner in 2007, and Lois Lady MacDonell, who also made two visits to New Zealand.

Guest Speaker Murdock McDonald


Murdock finished off his address with a special mention of four significant members, Donald Webster, Graeme Hutcheson, Murdo MacDonald and Harold McIsaac who had contributed so much to Clan Donald Auckland and were no longer with us.

Andrew Wilkie then played the slow air “Mist Covered Mountains.”

Andrew then fittingly gave the Toast to Absent friends.

Following the President’s closing remarks Andrew also played for the recessional.

And to finish off a great evening all the guests formed a circle for “Auld Lang Syne” accompanied by Andrew Wilkie on the pipes.

The Guests ready to perform Auld Lang Syne.



The 24th Paeroa Highland Games

For the third year in a row the Paeroa Highland Games enjoyed a fabulous Summers day. Saturday the 11th of February dawned clear and bright, and as the morning progressed it got very hot as there was just a very light breeze.

The Paeroa Domain is a great site for the highland games with plenty of mature trees for people to enjoy the shade. Particularly while watching the Pipe Band Contest in the afternoon.

The many clans were set up early, and ready for the crowds who were brought out by the beautiful weather. We had many members and friends calling in to the Pavilion for a chat and refreshments plus several people interested in becoming members.


Tom McDonald, Secretary of Clan Donald chatting with a prospective member and Lynnette McDonald looks after the sales tables.


Around 11am the clans marched to the town centre behind the Thames Valley Pipe Band. The March, as usual, stopped all traffic and gathered and interested crowd of Saturday morning shoppers.


The Clan Donald Colour Party, led by the Banner Bearer Lex Allan followed by Tom McDonald, Barrie Paterson and Lynnette McDonald.


 Clan Donald, with Clan Davidson and Clan Fraser in the town centre during the playing by the Thames Valley Pipe Band.


The Thames Valley Pipe Band entertaining the public in the town centre during the Clans March.


The programme started early morning and included the traditional Scottish events. Solo Piping and Drumming. Highland Dancing and the Heavyweight Field Events which featured the traditional contests of Tossing the Caber and Tossing the Sheaf.

Late morning there was also a Junior Highland Games.

During the afternoon there was a Pipe Band Contest with bands from the Auckland and Central Districts.

During the day, people were entertained by guests direct from Scotland. The Saltire Scottish Duo, David Vernon and Alex Hodson.

The evening events started with the Pipe Band Street March through the town to the domain. The Tattoo followed with the start signalled by the firing of the cannon.


The cannon being fired to start the Tattoo.


During the Tattoo the public were entertained with a Mace Flourishing Competition, a Haggis Ceremony and Massed Highland Dancers.

The Tattoo finished with the Lone Piper, the Ode to Scotland and a Massed Bands marching through the gate in the castle wall.


The massed pipe bands marching through the gate during the Tattoo.

Waipu Highland Games 2017

It was a beautiful warm sunny partly cloudy day for New Years day at Waipu, unlike last year, which was completely washed out.

Clan Donald, as Host Clan, led the Clans March, behind the Waipu Pipe Band, from the Monument into the Caledonian Grounds to the Avenue of Clans for the flag raising.


The Waipu Pipe Band leading the Clans March into the Caledonian Grounds.



The Clan Donald Colour Party at the conclusion of the Clans March. From the left, Banner Bearer Barrie Paterson, North Island Commissioner Tom McDonald, High Commissioner Alan MacDonald, Lawrie Fear in wheel chair, and Sargeant at Arms Murdock McDonald.


As it was a warm day, the crowds arrived early and were soon chatting with the officials of the various Clans.

The Clan Donald Pavilion had many members and friends calling in for a chat and refreshments.

The Clan Donald Haggis Ceremony was held at 11.30am. The Haggis Party of Guard Carl Bradley, Haggis Bearer Barrie Paterson, Whisky Bearer Alan MacDonald and Bard Tom McDonald, were led by Piper David Harvey, from the gate to the Clan Donald Pavilion. There were many spectators, who were excitedly expecting the traditional ceremony, already crowding the front of the Pavilion.

Tom McDonald gave a great rendition of the Robbie Burns address to the Haggis, and at the conclusion of the ceremony the spectators were able to try a sample.



The Haggis Party arriving at the Clan Donald Pavilion.


Tom McDonald giving the Robbie Burns address to the Haggis.


At 12.30pm the massed bands and the clans paraded around the arena. This was followed by the massed Highland Fling which set the scene for the Official Opening.



The massed bands and clans getting ready for the parade. As the Host Clan Donald led the clans and the Clan Donald Banner can be clearly seen at the rear of the second file of pipers.



The Clan Donald Colour Party, of Carl Bradley and Tom and Lynnette McDonald, is followed by Neil Cameron of Clan Cameron.


After a long, hot, busy and successful day the clans started to pack up around 4pm. Everyone thought that it was a great Highland Games and a great start to 2017.