Thousands gather for the Hororata Highland Games

A bonnie day was had by thousands of people who joined Clan Hororata at the 12th annual Hororata Highland Games 11th November 2023. Colin Forsyth travelled back from his home in Scotland to take the role of Chieftain at the Hororata Highland Games. A founding committee member of the event, it has been nine years since he has been able to attend the Games.

Colin was blown away by how the community has grown this festival. He said: “12 years ago, I took a phone call, they said, ‘we have this idea can you help us’; I said, why not and got on board. There was a lot of trust put in me and we got the first Hororata Highland Games off the ground. The community took my ideas, questioned some, added a kiwi twist, and created one of the world’s greatest highland games, and I know this because I have been fortunate to attend many games around the world. I was simply blown away as I wandered around the festival, it is just phenomenal. The committee has stayed true to our initial vision but expanded it into something that was beyond my wildest dreams.”

Traditional Scottish events

Hororata Highland Games 2023

The Hororata Highland Games hosted nearly 1,000 competitors of all ages competing in traditional Scottish events, with a record number of Highland dancers, pipers and drummers. Visitors got involved with over 1,000 people having a go at tossing a caber, pie eating, running the Kilted Mile, and taking on the Highland Challenge. A highlight of the day was the massed band march and Chieftain’s welcoming ceremony. Followed by a massed Scottish Country Dance where the crowd got to jump the fence into the main arena to dance the specially choreographed ‘Hororata Heavies’ in celebration of 100 years to the Royal Scottish Country Dancing Society.

Massed bands.

St Andrew’s Square hosted 23 Clans and held a moving Armistice Day service at 11.11am while two Spitfires sored overhead. The Hororata Highland Games is a community run event with all proceeds benefiting the rural area. 14 community groups raise funds for their own causes and over 200 volunteers join Clan Hororata to deliver the event. It is a shining example of what a community can do by pulling together with a common vision. Colin Forsyth added: “It was one of the greatest honours that has ever been bestowed on me is to be to the head of the Hororata Clan as their Chieftain. I am so proud of what the Hororata community is achieving. Thank you to all the volunteers, competitors, stallholders, sponsors and everyone who came, it is you who make this event what it is.”

The Hororata Highland Games is a Scottish festival, with a Kiwi twist, in Hororata, Canterbury, New Zealand. The 2024 Hororata Highland Games will take place on Saturday November, 9th. For more details see:

All images courtesy of David Baird.

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