The 148th Turakina Highland Games

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.’ …

Burns Night in New Zealand

burnsdinnerdunWhen members of the Dunedin Burns Club and its friends gathered in 1906 to celebrate the 147th birthday of Scotland’s national bard, they did so ‘with mirth and song and joyous acclamations’. The Club’s choir and the Dunedin Pipe Band enlivened the proceedings, offering musical entertainment between the many toasts and speeches that were delivered. The key address of the evening was made by Sir Robert Stout. Born in Lerwick, Shetland, in 1844, Stout left for New Zealand in 1863, soon rising to become one of the country’s most prominent public figures, serving as Premier and Chief Justice. An ardent champion of his Scottish heritage, Stout was engaged with a number of Scottish associations, thereby maintaining strong links with his native Shetland and the Scottish mainland. He was keen for …

The Turakina Highland Games

TurakinaThe Turakina Highland Games, New Zealand’s longest running Games, will be held for the 148th time in 2012, the events taking place on 28th January 2012 in the Turakina Domain, Cameron Road, Turakina. Turakina is a small village in the western Rangitikei district in the southern North Island of New Zealand.

As the Turakina Caledonian Society details on its website, it was the Maori explorer Hau who named Turakina. The first European settlers arrived from Scotland from the 1840’s, with many making their way up from Wellington following the land purchase from the Ngati Apa people in May 1849, negotiated by Sir Donald McLean.

I will be giving a talk about the History of New Zealand’s Caledonian Games at the Turakina Games next year.The talk relates to two …