Where the Heather Meets the Fern
‘Ceud Mille Failte’ – One hundred thousand welcomes to the 148th Turakina Highland Games. The small, Gaelic speaking pioneering community living in Turakina south of Whanganui began holding Highland Games from 1864.
Every year since then, the tiny settlement of Turakina has resounded to the skirl of the pipes. The tartans swirl as competitors strut their stuff in the Sword Dance or Half Tulloch, while in the field events, brawny men in singlets toss Sheaf and Caber, Carry the Stones or indulge in Farmers Walk.
Then there’s the free fun area where anyone can throw a haggis (what else would you do with it?), Roll a Gird and Cleek, Hop the Scotch or enjoy the Cock of the Beam. Spectrum’s Amelia Nurse and Phillip Collins also discover that the pipes first came to New Zealand in 1773; Captain James Cook had a piper on board HMS Resolution, so pibroch and pakeha have co-existed here ever since.
Presenting the Haggis (photo Phillip Collins)