New Zealand-Hasting Highland Games 2014

The 2014 Hasting Highland Games saw our own International Eagle Tracey Williams lift the 56th Gold Medal and we will be sure to raise a glass to celebrate her success this Tuesday. Tracey has been kind enough to give us a ‘match report’ and her own thoughts on the events of the day that you can read after the brief contest report. I see there is scant information about the post contest celebration but then again perhaps she cant recall?

Greig Wilson

Greig Wilson

Greg Wilson won the Clasp and the Overall A Grade Light Music at the 2014 Annual Hastings Highland Games, considered the pinnacle of piobaireachd competitions in New Zealand. Tracey Williams, recently returned from Scotland, picked up the 56th Gold Medal with the Desperate Battle. Andrew Edwards claimed the Silver Medal, Hamish Dick won the Under 21 NZ Championship Piobaireachd, and Braden Mills won the Bronze Medal.

Greg also picked up the Strathspey and Reel, double 2/4 Marches and was placed second in the Hornpipe and Jig. Liam Kernaghan won the A Grade MSR, the 2/4 March, and was second in the Strathspey and Reel. Brendon Eade captured the Hornpipe and Jig and the 6/8 March, and placed second in the Clasp, A MSR, the 2/4 March, and the double 2/4 Marches. Stuart Easton, Jamie Hawke, George Mason, Marion Horsburgh and William Rowe took the rest of the prizes. In the B Grade, Scott Marshall won most points, and Timothy Dudley from Nelson won the C Grade overall.

All piobaireachd events were judged by Brian Switalla and Iain Hines. All the A Grade light music was judged by Stewart McKenzie.

Gold Clasp Piobaireachd

1st Greg Wilson

2nd Brendon Eade

3rd Stuart Easton

4th Marion Horsburgh

Tracey Williams

Tracey Williams

56th Gold Medal Piobaireachd

1st Tracey Williams

2nd Daniel Milosavijevic

3rd Willie Rowe

4th Liam Kernaghan

Silver Medal Piobaireachd

1st Andrew Edwards

2nd Donella May

3rd Lewis Gibson

4th Anna Smart

Under 21 NZ Championship Piobaireachd

1st Hamish Dick

2nd Anna Smart

3rd Nicola Thomson

4th Cameron Richardson

A Grade 6/8 March

1st Brendon Eade

2nd Stuart Easton

3rd George Mason

4th Liam Kernaghan

A Grade MSR

1st Liam Kernaghan

2nd Brendon Eade

3rd Stuart Easton

4th Jamie Hawke

A Grade 2/4 March

1st Liam Kernaghan

2nd Brendon Eade

3rd Greg Wilson

4th Marion Horsburgh

A Grade 2 x 2/4 Marches

1st Greg Wilson

2nd Brendon Eade

3rd Stuart Easton

4th Jamie Hawke

A Grade Open Hornpipe & Jig

1st Brendon Eade

2nd Greg Wilson

3rd Jamie Hawke

4th Willie Rowe

A Grade Strathspey and Reel

1st Greg Wilson

2nd Liam Kernaghan

3rd Stuart Easton

4th Jamie Hawke


Our agent in the field, Tracey Williams

‘It’s Tuesday night in Scotland, and it’s the school holidays. This combination usually means that I head for the Scots Guards Club prepared with an overnight bag and ready to twist the rubber arms of the Hon. Pres. and the Hon. P/M. The evening typically ends around 4am at the lovely home of the Hon. Pres. with an assortment of excellent drams having been duly sampled, tunes having been discussed and the world generally put to rights.

How different this Tuesday evening is for me, as it is in fact Wednesday morning, and I am drinking a cup of tea in the early morning sunshine listening to bird song. I’m in the house in which I grew up; made my tea in the kitchen which saw me practice various steps as a clumsy, over-sized Highland dancer; sitting in the lounge which heard me pull the pipes from the box for the very first time and attempt my first honking. On the dining table at which I have eaten countless meals as soon as I was too big for a high chair, completed homework and sewed many an ill-fated garment, there are currently displayed two lovely trophies and a gold medal – my own.

Easter time in New Zealand sees one of the nation’s biggest and most prestigious gatherings of pipers and dancers at the Hawke’s Bay Easter Highland Games in my hometown of Hastings. This year, around 90 pipers travelled from all over the country to compete in the two-day “Games” which includes a very comprehensive programme of piobaireachd events.

Jason Craig TW and Tom Glover

Jason Craig, TW and Tom Glover Pre contest

It could be described as perhaps the Argyllshire Gathering or Northern Meeting of New Zealand, and is quite grueling in a different way: instead of waiting for hours for one’s turn to play and trying to preserve energy and focus for the optimum moment, there are fewer competitors in each class, but a mind-boggling array of events.

In the A grade, competitors face a 6/8 March, a 2/4 March, a Double 2/4 March, a March Strathspey and Reel, a Strathspey and Reel, and a Hornpipe and Jig. And that’s on top of any piobaireachd event. In other grades competitors face a similar array of events, and the piobaireachd events provide the most extensive competition opportunities I have seen anywhere: Clasp, Gold Medal, Silver Medal, Bronze Medal as well as D Grade and Novice Piobaireachd.

The weekend started on the Friday night with the Clasp event for former winners of the Gold Medal. Big tunes were set this year – Scarce of Fishing, Patrick Og MacCrimmon’s Lament, Lament for Lady Margaret MacDonald, Nameless Cherede Darievea, Battle of the Pass of Crieff, Donald Gruamach’s March were all heard on the night.

Greg Wilson was the winner on the night, and we all marveled at his apparently self-tuning drones. They wandered out slightly as there was a pretty big temperature differential between tuning room and stage, but magically retuned themselves!

In amongst all that Light Music on the Saturday, it was my turn to battle the air conditioning in the auditorium for the Gold Medal piobaireachd event. Armed with hair drier, mops and rags, I went forth with The Desperate Battle, and managed to get it fairly well all in the shape I wanted it. With this tune, I was lucky enough to win the Gold Medal, ahead of some very fine tunes from my colleagues.IMG_0871

Being the sentimental kind of girl that I am, it felt like quite a big deal for me: This “Home-Coming” tune and resulting success. I am facing a constant internal barrage of thoughts of what was, what has been, what I have left, what is, and what might be. I carried with me on to the competition platform last weekend thoughts of so many friends and influences who have been with me at various stages of my piping career – all whom I have learned from in so many different ways. I felt a very acute sense of duty to play well alongside the desire to do so, and to have been recognised in this way is very humbling.

IMG_0873Last night, I was out for dinner with a friend who attended a prize giving with me when I won some B grade prizes last century! She can clearly remember me being in awe of the Gold Medal winners of the day, and to think that I am now that Gold Medalist is a rather odd sensation. There is still such a long way to go and so much to learn!

Next weekend will see me travel to Adelaide in Australia for the R.U. Brown competition, and shortly after that, to Dunedin for some more piobaireachd-ing…

Another Scottish summer and a few more Eagle Pipers sessions?? Who knows?!?!









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