Highland Games In New ZealandThere was more tartan than I had ever seen at last weekend's highland games at Hororata just 50 minutes west of Christchurch, New Zealand.
The games were opened by the Right Honourable Gerry Brownlee, the honorary chieftain and cabinet minister in charge of the recovery process in Canterbury following a two-year series of deadly earthquakes.
The winning pipe band came from Balclutha, in Otago Province. Christchurch's St Andrews College had a strong showing.
Highland dancing, Scottish country dancing, the caber, hammer and scurry races featured, climaxed by a march past of all the bands and contestants, and the prizegiving ceremony.
View 23 of my hundreds of photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandy1fairservice/sets/72157632024790601/with/8192099902/
I wore my kilt and gear all day in the warm sun, as did many other contestants and members of the public.
New Zealand was settled by many Scots from the nineteenth century onwards, alongside English, Irish, Danes, Dalmatians and a few Fench. So until a few decades ago we were very Celtic. All comers, including the indigenous Maoris, have their own festivals, including a large Polynesian festival in Auckland.
The event was good for the people of Canterbury, who have been through a torrid two years. The event was followed by the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show the next weekend in Christchurch. The Highland Games got the best weather.