Hawke’s Bay on the North Island’s East Coast will ring to the music of 55 pipe bands in March when the region hosts the New Zealand national pipe band championships. Bands from throughout New Zealand and perhaps even some from Australia, if travel restrictions permit, will be in Hawke’s Bay on 19 and 20 March, bringing with them a significant economic boost to the local economy. Up to 3,000 visitors are expected over the time of the contest. Chair of the organising group, Kerry Marshall, says that what is truly exciting is the record number of juvenile bands entered where the age limit for pipers and drummers is 18 years of age. “This reflects the strength of youth involvement in the pipe band movement here in New Zealand, something we’ve seen here in Napier and Hastings as well.”
Mr Marshall expects the NZ contest to be one of the few major pipe band competitions to be staged next year. “The livestreaming of the event will attract world-wide interest and be a great opportunity to showcase Hawke’s Bay,” says Mr Marshall.
Local Mayors and councils are pleased that the iconic event is being staged in Napier and Hastings. March is going to be another busy month for events in the Bay with the national athletics champs and the International Horse of the Year show being held here in the weeks preceding the contest. Pipe Major, Jarrod Cawood, of the HB Caledonian Pipe Band, which is taking part in the contest, says the organising group, The Piping & Drumming Academy of Hawke’s Bay, is appreciative of the support of local councils and sponsors. “The input of so many organisations will ensure that this event reflects well on the region and provides a boost for our local pipe bands.”
The main venue is Mitre10 Sports Park where the music competitions will be held while the street march event will be in Napier’s CBD on the Friday afternoon. The contest website, nzpbchamps.nz, will be updated with more details once scheduling is complete. The website has links for local accommodation and other information about the contest.