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New Zealand Championships 2012

The New Zealand Pipe Band Championships were held on the 9th and 10th of March, in Tauranga – about 2 hours South East of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island. Over 50 bands were contenders for 6 grades this year, with grade 4 being split into 4A and 4B for the first time. Two of our Boghall players, Scott Birrell and Liam Kernaghan, were playing at the Championships with Scott leading the drum corps of the Grade 2 ILT City of Invercargill Pipe Band and Liam with his “home” band the Grade 1 Canterbury Caledonian Society.

The championships were split over two days with Friday showcasing grades 4B, 4A, 3 and Juvenile with all bands playing both an MSR and Medley (with the exception of Juvenile, who play a march set). Juvenile was won for the sixth time by St Andrews College, although the Canterbury Caledonian Society Juveniles picked up three 1sts, and a sixth – so it was a close race! Friday night concluded with a recital from Chris Armstrong and Tano Martone who were both guesting at the championships with Invercargill. 

Saturday dawned with largely uninspiring overcast conditions and began with the Street March (a judged event in New Zealand) which draws the public to the streets at the start of the Championship day. Thousands lined the streets at Tauranga to watch the bands go down and both of our Boghall members enjoyed success.

The City of Invercargill came out with an impressive selection of hornpipes securing 2nd in Grade 2 whilst the Canterbury Caledonian Society took 1st place in the Grade 1 contest.

A link to the first half of the performance -, and the second half -

The afternoon brought a bit of sunshine and with it some excellent performances. Invercargill had two great runs and secured 2nd place behind some quality playing from the Moorabbin Pipe Band from Melbourne, Australia.
Link to their Medley performance -

Canterbury Caledonian were next up in Grade 1. They drew their second MSR – The Clan McRae Society, Inveraray Castle, and John Morrison of Assynt House and after a solid run they finished 2nd on ensemble preference to Auckland and District. This was followed up with an excellent run in the Medley event and ultimately Canterbury lifted the title by two points with Auckland finishing 2nd, Manawatu 3rd and the NZ Police 4th. This was the first time Canterbury had lifted the Grade 1 title and it was a particularly significant achievement given the recent troubles that affected the band, including losing their historic band hall in the earthquake in early 2011.

A link to the Canterbury Medley performance -

Overall the contest at Tauranga proved to be a very successful start to 2012 for our Boghall players and we will now look to take that prize winning start forwards into the 2012 UK season! Also, for all those who have not seen it yet… Pipe Band Journalist Libby O’Brien has taken on the challenge of making pipe bands look “cooler” and fashioned this video of the New Zealand Championships. Have a look and see if you can spot any of our players!

Posted by Robbert van Gorp on 03/10 at 10:17 PM in


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