The Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band is one of New Zealand’s largest pipe band organisations, comprising three competing bands: the main Grade One Band, Grade Three Band, and a Juvenile Youth Development Band, along with an active supporters club and an administrative body.
‘Manawatu Scottish’ was established in 1925 and is based in Palmerston North, New Zealand. The band has a close affiliation with the Manawatu Scottish Society, extending back to when the band was first formed.
The Number One band has held the Grade One New Zealand Championship title seven times (2001-2008). The band is led by Pipe Major Stewart McKenzie, who is currently based in Wellington, New Zealand. Stewart has a long family history with Manawatu Scottish. The Drum Corp is under the direction of Drum Sergeant Gary Potter, who is based in Perth, Australia.
A fantastic solo piping contest was held in Palmerston North on 22nd May 2021. Organised by the Manawatu Scottish Society and hosted by the Celtic Inn, this invitational contest it featured NZ’s top solo pipers. The Claidheamhor was won by Stuart Easton and the Targe by Greg Wilson. Full results here.
In 2002 the band attended the Australian and South Pacific Championships in Brisbane, where they won both Grade One titles – the first band since 1974 to win both Australian and New Zealand Champion titles in one year.
The band has developed a highly distinguished international profile with encouraging results. Since 1997 the band has made a biennial trip to Scotland to compete in the World Championships, and peaked with a ranking of 9th in the world. In addition, the band was invited to perform at the renowned Internationale Celtique Festival, Lorient, France in 2003.
The Band enjoys a growing reputation as a concert band. The two key factors of innovation and musicality influence the bands concert format leading to a staunch local following and increasing interest in other centres and overseas. A number of players have also competed successfully in solo events.
In 2002 the band produced its debut studio album “The Calling”, showcasing homegrown talents reflective of the highest international standards. This was followed in 2009 by the second studio album “Twelve Thousand Miles” – the distance between New Zealand and Scotland, and also the distance many of our ancestors travelled over 150 years ago in search of a new life.
The Number Two band competes in Grade Three and has also had numerous successes in recent seasons, including first place in the 2020 National Championships in Invercargill.
The Juvenile Youth Development Band is the training ground for Manawatu’s other two bands. The band is tutored by members of the higher graded bands.