Kilts, drums, and bagpipes: RNZBPA

Christchurch has a rich Scottish heritage, evident in its people, buildings, and also its pipe bands.
Metropol deputy editor Daniella Judge discovers the latter are gaining traction with young and old.

The Scottish heritage in Christchurch is deep-rooted, with many of the city’s early settlers being of Scottish descent. This has resulted in the preservation and celebration of Scottish culture throughout the city, as demonstrated through events such as the annual Scottish Festival.
Christchurch boasts several landmarks that pay tribute to its Scottish roots, although some were lost to time and nature. One was the iconic Caledonian Hall on Kilmore Street, destroyed in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake.

Various Christchurch groups continue to promote and preserve Scottish heritage through activities such as highland dancing, pipe bands, and bagpiping.
With such a rich Scottish heritage, it’s no surprise that pipe bands have gained popularity in Christchurch, and elsewhere in New Zealand. Next month Cantabrians will have a chance to hear and see its local pipe bands, and others, in action in the 2023 New Zealand and South Pacific Pipe Band Championships.
The sound of marching feet, traditional kilts with box pleats, white shirts under black vests, unforgettable bagpipe melodies, and powerfully beating drums are just a few glimpses of what locals can expect. Clans and tartans will be front and centre.

Growing interest in pipe bands
Pipe band involvement has become increasingly popular among younger generations in Christchurch.
In an era where technology has created a sense of loneliness, more and more people are seeking new ways to spend their time and connect with their community.
The Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association (RNZPBA) runs many of the pipe band events in Christchurch, offers summer school programmes for aspiring musicians, as also runs mentorship programmes.
Anyone of any age or skill can get involved and local bands are listed on the RNZPBA website (opposite).

Benefits of joining a pipe band
Being part of a pipe band offers a sense of community and a shared goal to produce a seamless musical ensemble, and great satisfaction. Joining such a band can also lead to travel opportunities. For example, the outstanding Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band will be travelling to Scotland later this year to compete against the best in its grade from around the world.

When and where
Mark your calendars for 10 and 11 March, when the 2023 New Zealand and South Pacific Pipe Band Championships will take place in North Hagley Park. Participants from schools, societies, and hobbyists of all ages will compete in groups ranging from 15-35 people, separated by grade. This event promises to be a great weekend filled with not just pipe band performances but also food and art stalls, Scottish clans, highland dancing and games, and more.

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