Let the Games begin

by Anonymous Author

The Hororata Highland Games was created in 2011 from the local community’s desire to take charge of its own future following the Canterbury earthquakes and the devastation of a number of key community facilities.

Rather than wait for assistance a motivated group of individuals developed a theme which resonated with them and filled a unique gap in the event market, the Hororata Highland Games was born.

The driving force behind the establishment of the games was the Hororata Community Trust (HCT), which was registered as a charitable trust in August 2011 with the purpose to help rebuild and promote the community following the September 2010 earthquakes.

The Hororata Highland Games was established as the main fundraising focus for the HCT but also to give the community a positive focus.

The brief for the games was to establish a quality event, which offered all the traditional elements of Scottish Highland Games surrounded by a fun filled festival which engaged the community. Run by a volunteer committee, the Hororata Highland Games has been held successfully for the past six years.

It is now a permanent fixture in the Scottish competition calendar and regarded as one of the biggest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere.

The event attracts well over 300 competitors who compete in Highland Dancing, Piping and Drumming, Tug O’ War, Highland Spin (a fleece to garment challenge), Small Bore Shooting, Amateur Scottish heavy athletics (men’s and women’s) and the Oceania Heavyweight Championship (professional Scottish heavy athletics).

Competitors come from throughout New Zealand and internationally to compete. Last year saw a record crowd of over 10,000 attend.

Visitors don’t come just to sit in the stands, but all ages can have a go themselves in modified or replicas of the competitive events. Have A Go events include the Junior Warriors, Caber or Sheath toss, Lightweight Farmers Walk, Small Bore Shooting, Archery, Kilted Mile, Haggis Hurl and the Hororata Pie Eating Competition.

Most of these events are free to participate in.

The event also hosts over 100 stalls offering quality merchandise and produce. In the stalls area there is a children’s fairground, music entertainment, Scottish country dancing and the Taste of Scotland offering a range of Scottish themed food and wine.

Visitors discover Scottish heritage and their ancestry in Clan Lane.

The Chieftain’s Welcoming Ceremony is a unique blend of Scottish and Kiwi culture.

A Karanga welcomes the chieftain, but the response comes from bag pipes. A Kapa Haka group adds even more flare and excitement to the spectacle. 

This year a special Armistice Day Remembrance service will be held as part of the opening ceremony. For the first time a female chieftain will guide the proceedings with Selwyn MP Amy Adams accepting the role.

The massed bands closing ceremony is not to be missed and provides a heart pounding and fitting end to the day’s proceedings.