It 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.
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: