2024 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships in Auckland March 15-16
There are more Grade 1 pipe bands per capita than any independent country on earth, and next year’s New Zealand Championships will be held in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland March 15-16, providing an excellent opportunity for northern hemisphere pipers and drummers to enjoy a playing holiday in their off-season.
With a population of just more than five-million, the island nation is rich with piping and drumming tradition, and three kiwi bands just travelled to compete in Grade 1 at the 2023 World Championships, and several New Zealand soloists are competing just now at the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting in Scotland.
Tāmaki Makaurau is the Māori-language name derived in English as Auckland, which, along with Wellington, is one of the easier travel hubs to reach domestically and internationally.
Auckland was to have hosted the 2022 New Zealand Championships until the global pandemic nixed plans. The 2023 event was held in Christchurch, where Canterbury Caledonian Society won Grade 1, and Australia’s Hawthorn took the Grade 2 contest, helping to catapult the band into Grade 1. Some 48 bands competed across all grades.
“As New Zealand’s a major domestic and international hub for travel, it makes attending the Championships much more attractive for many bands.” – RNZPBA President Iain Blakeley
“The 2023 offering in Ōtautahi Christchurch exceeded all of our expectations, and we are hopeful that the 2024 event will build on that,” said Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands Association President Iain Blakeley. “Over 48 bands competed for the top prize across all the grades, in what was the best standard heard in New Zealand for some time. Auckland is the perfect location for many reasons – not only Auckland’s fantastic venues and array of hospitality options, but as New Zealand’s major domestic and international hub for travel, it makes attending the Championships much more attractive for many bands.”
Pipe bands based in the UK rarely travel abroad to national championships, whereas groups from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States routinely scrimp and save to get to Glasgow in August.
A flight from Melbourne to/from Auckland is about AUD$644 return, Vancouver around CAD$1,769, and Glasgow is about £1,408.
“This is the perfect opportunity for bands around the globe to come to New Zealand and experience the very best we have to offer,” Blakeley added.
The South Pacific Championships is an event held in agreement with both the RNZPBA and Pipe Bands Australia. An agreement reached in 2021 has the event swap countries every three years. The next one is in 2026 in Australia and will be the Australian and South Pacific Championships.
Bands can register their interest in competing at the 2024 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships here.