Chiefs speech at 2020 Games Opening
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys.
Kee-ud meel-uh faahl- tjuh (The Phonetic Pronunciation)
Ceud mile Failte – 100 Thousand Welcomes to our Annual Highland Games in Waipu, where we have been holding Highland gatherings and games since 1871. It is great to see and have the opportunity to meet so many of you here today.
A special welcome also to our VIP guests.
I must first thank our committee and the many volunteers who have put in a tremendous amount of their time and effort working in the background, and upfront helping to make this a successful and iconic event, it enables many of us to celebrate our Scottish heritage at a traditional Scottish Gathering.
The others who deserve special mention, and who I would like to acknowledge, are our Sponsors, some have supported us for many years; others have just come on board. We need you all, we value the support that you give to the games and our Society. Last but not least I must thank staff and Councilors of the Whangarei District Council who have provided valuable support and assistance for the operation of this park during the last 12 months. Over 40 thousand people make use of these excellent facilities every year.
Who am I? I am descended from William McKenzie, one of the first settlers to land at Waipu. I have been actively involved with the Caledonian Games most of my life. I have attended Highland Games in Scotland, Nova Scotia, and America. Since 1976 I have maintained and operated the public address systems at these games.
Unfortunately, our Scottish blood in Waipu is getting thinner, and our younger generation is just happy to be New Zealanders and not participate in Traditional Scottish activities; however, there are people coming to Waipu who are keen to join us and share their expertise in various ways to help the Caledonian Society keep our heritage alive. We welcome you all to our Society and value the skills which you have brought with you.
The Waipu Caledonian Society purchased this park in the early 1900s and has continued to hold Highland Games on this site since then. The park is also home to the Waipu Rugby and Squash Club, The Tennis Club, and the Croquet Club. The Bowling Club property to the south was also part of the original park.
Various indoor sporting activities are also held in our Celtic Barn during the year.
This year our Host Clan is Clan Davidson. Each year we select a host clan from the group of Clans who set themselves up in our “Avenue of Clans”.
McLeod’s Brewery and Pizza Barn are our major sponsor. A range of their locally brewed award-winning craft beers is available here today at our on-site bars. The Waipu Lions Club has been supporting us many years with tasty food. We also, for the first time, have Country Caterers in the Celtic Barn Kitchen providing and serving a range of delicious food.
Next year we will be celebrating 150 years of Highland Games in Waipu.
It now gives me great pleasure to introduce Ken Couper to open our games today.
For those of you who down know Ken, he is a local Waipu farmer who has grown up here in Waipu, he and members of his family have played the pipes in the Pipe band, and he has been involved in a wide range of community activities in the district.
He was recently elected to the Whangarei District Council to represent the ratepayers in the Waipu area.
I now ask Ken Couper to open our 149th Highland Gathering and Games.
Chief, The Waipu Caledonian Society Inc
The Waipu Caledonian Society Incorporated Chief’s Banner
This banner designed by Wayne Laurence represents the history of the migration to Waipu by the original Nova Scotian / Scottish settlers.
Top left 1st quarter: Saltair, Thistle, and lion rampant, representing Scottish origins
2nd Quarter: maple leaf, Nova Scotian arrangement representing the time spent in these two countries.
3rd Quarter: Southern Cross configuration for New Zealand and Lymphad/ship representing their final destination.
Centre: A Waipu Caledonian Society Emblem.