February 28, 2011

NZ Championships cancelled; Canterbury future in doubt; p|d invites donations from world pipe band community

As a result of the damage caused by the earthquake that hit the country’s South Island on February 22nd, the 2011 New Zealand and South Pacific Pipe Band Championships due to be held in Timaru on 4 and 5 March have been cancelled. The decision was made by the Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands Association and announced to its members on February 26th in a statement from association President Ian Blakeley.

“New Zealand pipe bands positively contribute to their communities and in the normal course of events our national contests bring entertainment, festivities, great joy and significant commerce to the areas where they occur,” Blakeley said. “However, it has become increasingly clear on this occasion that to go ahead with this contest in Timaru next weekend could detrimentally impact others outside of the pipe band community. That’s not what we are about.

“There is more than a remote risk that 1500 or so pipe bands’ men and women arriving in Timaru could divert resources away from people who are more in need.”

The association also postponed its annual general meeting.

The earthquake has had a devastating impact on the city of Christchurch in particular, and the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band organization – one of the country’s most established – has seen its 88-year-old practice hall and at least two complete sets of drums destroyed. The hall has been completed bulldozed after most of it collapsed in the quake.


“The earthquake has severely impacted the band in a number of ways,” said Pipe-Major Richard Hawke. “Obviously some of our members have family and financial issues to deal with and those working in the central city won’t be working back there for some time, if ever. As for the band itself, we have drums and uniforms that have been destroyed with the demolition of the hall.   Insurance will hopefully look after that in the long-term.”

Hawke said that the band’s planned trip to Scotland in August is also now in question, as before the earthquake the band had planned to raise more than $40,000 through raffles, a golf tournament, concerts and a ceilidh.

“They just won’t be happening,” added Hawke. “There will not be the appetite for those and to be honest it would be insensitive to even try to run those events in the near future. In addition, some members may not have the funds now to contribute themselves. I am not sure where we go from here.”

In speaking with the band, pipes|drums offered to help coordinate a fundraising effort via the magazine’s PayPal donations system. Any readers who wish to help are invited to make a donation through the safe and secure process, which can be made either via a PayPal account or a major credit card. The magazine has started the process with a $250 donation.

All donations made via the pipes|drums system in the next three weeks will be forwarded in full to the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band organization.

Donations coming in will automatically be designated as such.

“This is a time when the power of the pipe band world can make a difference in helping this venerable organization get back on its feet,” said pipes|drums editor Andrew Berthoff. “We’re happy to help in whatever way we can, and our best wishes are with our friends in the Christchurch area.”


  1. The Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band has a proud, and dignified past. I know that I would not be alone in wishing them a bright and successful future. It won’t be easy, but the Kiwis are resilient and determine lot. Richard and James, thinking of you, your families, and your band families. Ken Maltman.

  2. Thankyou pipesdrums for you help and support. I will be teaching online drumming lessons until school is open and functional again. Local students and International students please email me and we can arrange a lesson time. I have lots of spare time now, lessons will start from Feb 28th. Regards, James

  3. The New Zealand contingent of our piping and pipe band world continue to lead the way in class, grace — and good judgement. With what has happened in NZ we’ve been reminded that pipes and drums are just, well, pipes and drums.

  4. I was scheduled to judge this contest and cancelled for obvious reasons. The NZPBA was completely understanding and supportive, and has now gone on to take a step, described accurately by Mike as graceful. These folks are nothing if not that. Amongst the nicest people anywhere in the pipe band world. I too have had a memorable night at the Caledonian Hall…a great spot…how will they ever replace it? I know I’ll contribute to their cause.

  5. We wish that the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band are able to recover quickly from this material loss. We offer our small donation to that end. We in Mexico know only too well the consequences of devastating earthquakes. St. Patrick’s Battalion Pipes and Drums.



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