Thousands attend the 2024 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships

Thousands of Kiwis descended onto Onewa Domain in Auckland to take in the 2024 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships, the biggest pipe band event outside of the United Kingdom. Fifty-two bands from across Australia and New Zealand competed at the two-day event, culminating with the reigning New Zealand champions, Canterbury Caledonian Society, retaining their premier grade title.

“The strength of the entries and the standard of music right across the grades is testament to how strong the pipe band movement in New Zealand is, and the renaissance we are seeing with young people from all walks of life deciding to take up the bagpipes and drums,” RNZPBA President Iain Blakeley says. “The adjudication panel said this year’s event was the highest standard of competition they had heard in New Zealand in a long time. Having high-quality music across all of the competition grades both helps inspire players to constantly reach for excellence as well as inspire new people to take up the instruments.”

Pipe bands are for everyone

The City of Melbourne Highland Pipe Band, Grade Three winners.

Of note, the 2024 competition played host to the biggest under-18 juvenile event in the world, and for the second time in the history of the national championships a female was awarded Champion Drum Major. Iain continued, “We are proud of the fact we have so many young people from all walks of life wanting to play the bagpipes or drums. It’s an incredible environment for young people to learn new skills, make new friends and have fun. The strength of the public interest in this year’s event shows the unique contribution we can make to communities right across New Zealand. There are strong signs that the event will continue to grow and diversify which is an exciting prospect. No matter your background, pipe bands are for everyone.”

Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band.

The winners of each grade were:

Grade One: Canterbury Caledonian Society’s Pipe Band (Christchurch, New Zealand)

Grade Two: Celtic Pipe Band (Nelson, New Zealand)

Grade Three: City of Melbourne Pipe Band No. 1 (Melbourne, Australia)

Grade Four ‘A’: Hamilton Caledonian Society (Hamilton, New Zealand)

Grade Four ‘B’: South Canterbury Highland Pipe Band (Timaru, New Zealand)

Juvenile: St. Andrew’s College Pipe Band (Christchurch, New Zealand)

Champion Drum Major: Wendy Chisholm (Canterbury Caledonian Society’s Pipe Band)

The 2025 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships will be held in Invercargill 7-8th March 2025, at the Cricket Grounds, Queens Park. The event will be livestreamed for piping fans across the world to enjoy.

Main photo: Grade One winners Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band.

1 thought on “Thousands attend the 2024 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships”

  1. This is amazing! Gotta put it on the calendar for next year. So glad to read about youth involvement. Looking for any Blairs who may be interested in learning about our Youth Scholarship 18 and under. Do reach out! Congratulations 🎊 👏

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