It is a remarkable achievement for the rural settlement of Turakina to have reached its 140th Highland Games. Scottish Highland families settling in the Turakina district brought with them their heritage and traditions, love of music, dance and sporting competition. Small gatherings lead to the formation of the Turakina Caledonian Society and Highland Games in 1863 and 1864.
Turakina Highland Games may be the longest running Highland Games but the first Highland Games in New Zealand were probably those held in Wellington in the 1840s.
In the 19th & early 20th century the venue for the Turakina Caledonian Games was the private paddocks of local farmers until the 1960s where it was moved to the Public Domain and has been held there ever since.
Early records show competitors as far away as Taranaki and Wellington. Visitors who undertook the long journeys to compete at the games were well fed and billeted as required.
The 140th Turakina Highland Games was as always a pleasure to attend. Along with George Brown who stayed in his camper over the weekend and Molly Akers we enjoyed a relaxing day in the sun shine with a cool breeze blowing. The sounds of the pipes were carried by the breeze to all four corners of the field.
The twelve colourful clan tents stretched down one side of the field. The Clan March to commemorate the Early Highland Settlers walk up the beach from Wellington to settle in the Turakina area was lead by Clan Cameron with other clans and their kin following.
Highland and National Dancing, Solo Piping, Solo Drumming, Field events and Pipe Band Contests continued throughout the day along with displays from Highland Cattle and the Gordon Setter Kennel Club.
In the late afternoon we were entertained by Massed Bands, a Massed Highland Fling before the Address to the Haggis then an evening Ceilidh featuring the band Fiddlesticks.