Welcome to TurakinaIt was my great pleasure to visit the Turakina Highland Games last Saturday — the 148th Games, making them New Zealand’s longest-running Highland Games. It was in early January 1864 that the residents of Turakina and the nearby villages first gathered for Highland Games. The first Games were not held on the Turakina Domain, however, but on the grounds adjoining the Ben Nevis Hotel. As a newspaper reported, ‘the weather was all that could be desired, and the various games were keenly contested, and appeared to give the lookers on great satisfaction’ (Wellington Independent, 2 January 1864 – click here to download an image of the newspaper page). ‘We have no doubt’, the paper concluded, ‘that this will be the precursor of numerous happy meetings in future years.’ And how right this statement has turned out to be! In 2012 as in 1864, the events were enlivened by the sound of the bagpipes, and Highland dancing and caber tossing featured prominently. In 2012 the Games also brought together many Scottish clans and other enthusiasts of all things Scottish, including members of the Wanganui Burns Club.

For a more detailed report on the 2012 Turakina Games, please visit the website of the Wanganui Chronicle; there is also a piece in the Rangitikei District Monitor.

If you would like to know a little more about the history of Highland Games in New Zealand, have a look at my previous piece on Caledonian Games and New Year’s Day in New Zealand.

Did you visit the Turakina Games this year? Were you perhaps among those listening to my talk? It would be great to hear what you thought of it and the Games — just leave a comment.

Here are a few images from the 2012 Turakina Games:

The 148th Turakina Highland Games
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5 thoughts on “The 148th Turakina Highland Games

  • 29 January 2012 at 11:40 pm
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    Good to hear from you – unfortunately didn’t get to hear your talk as I had to man the Grant tent but Ewen did & enjoyed your presentation -can you send me a copy?
    please give our regards to Brad too – lovely calm day to day after a very windy day yesterday –
    regards & thanks Roz & Ewen

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    • 1 June 2012 at 8:55 am
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      Hi Roz,its Caroline here can you email me at ceramikca@yahoo.com as i have lost your email address its in regards to Henk

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  • 30 January 2012 at 2:51 am
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    I had a great time at the Games and was pleased to be able to give my talk. I have emailed you the paper – let me know if you’d like any other details. All the best, Tanja

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  • 10 February 2012 at 7:37 pm
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    An interesting insight to the early days of Scots in New Zealand and how popular Highland Games were with the general population. Your talk was most interesting Tanja, despite the audio challenges from both sides of the tent. Good to see the Games continue in different parts of NZ although largely overtaken by todays organized and financed sporting events. The Turakina annual event shows that still the blood is strong and the heart is Highland.

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  • 13 February 2012 at 11:00 pm
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    Thanks so much, Robert and Betty – I am pleased that you enjoyed the talk. The continued success of the Turakina Games is indeed the sign of how important their Scottish background is to those New Zealanders of Scottish descent. Please let me know if I can help further with anything (for instance if you are doing you own research on your Scottish roots etc). I’d be happy to help if you have any further queries about this or my talk.

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