March 16, 2021

Live from Hawke’s Bay, it’s the New Zealand Championships

Mitre10 Sports Park in the town of Hastings, Hawkes’s Bay, in the country’s North Island will be the site of the 2021 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships March 20th for a real, live, in-person 35-band competition that will feature five bands in each of Grade 1 and Grade 2.

Auckland & District, ILT City of Invercargill Highland, Canterbury Caledonian Society, Manawatu Scottish and the New Zealand Police will vie for the title in Medley and MSR events.

Canterbury Caledonia competing at the 2019 New Zealand Championships.

Canterbury Caledonian will be going for their third consecutive national title. The band won the 2020 New Zealand Championship on March 14th last year, the event just getting in before the worldwide pandemic put everything on hold.

Grade 2 will see Celtic (Nelson), Hamilton Caledonian, Scottish Society of New Zealand, St. Andrew’s College and Wellington Red Hackle competing for the prizes.

There will be two panels of judges made up from Greg Wilson, Liam Kernaghan, Brian Switalla, Ross Ferguson (piping); Craig Meinsmith, Chris Stevens (ensemble);  Ross Levy, Glen Rodgers (drumming).

In normal times, the event would see pipers and drummers from the northern hemisphere travelling to the event to guest with bands. Due to flight restrictions, few fly-in players are expected to bolster bands’ ranks.

The event will be streamed live starting at 09:00 NZDT (Hastings time = +17 hours EDT / +13 hours GMT) via the Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands’ Association’s YouTube page. So, if you’re in the Eastern time zone, it starts at 4 pm on Friday, March 19th; if you’re in the UK, at 8 pm on Friday, March 19th). The Grade 1 competition starts at 13:40 NZDT (you can figure out your local time).

New Zealand traditionally has a Street March event, with bands parading down the road the day before the music contest. The Street March will also be streamed starting at 15:15 New Zealand time.

Manawatu Scottish was the winner of the Jenny Mair Highland Square Day competition in December of last year.

New Zealand has been able to deal with the pandemic better than almost every other country, enabling the country to operate mostly normally for the last several months. An outbreak of COVID-19 in Auckland on February 27th resulted in the country’s largest city going into a lockdown that ended on March 7th.



Canterbury Caledonian: 2020 New Zealand Champions
March 14, 2020

The Tu smokes Jenny Mair Highland Square Day
December 12, 2020





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