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The City of Tauranga Pipe Band is on top of the world arriving back in town after being crowned top Grade 3 band in... The City of Tauranga Pipe Band, a 32-member band from Taurang, New Zealand and the South Pacific, was crowned the top Grade 3 band at the national championships last weekend. The band won seven of the eight trophies possible and will now attend the 2023 New Zealand/South Pacific Pipe Band Championships. The group is a tightknit group of 32, with 16 pipers, eight snare drummers, six tenor drummers and the bass drummer with Drum Major Doug Hendry out in front on parade. Drum Sergeant Neil Mogey celebrated a birthday at the championships, and the result is “the best gift” of the whole band. Despite the challenges, the band has a strong family focus and many members are actively involved as supporters.
Published : 2 months ago by in
The City of Tauranga Pipe Band is on top of the world arriving back in town after being crowned top Grade 3 band in New Zealand and the South Pacific at the national championships last weekend.
Those out and about around Tauranga City on recent weekends will have heard the skirl of the pipes and the beat of the drums as the band put in final preparations before attending the 2023 New Zealand and South Pacific Pipe Band Championships at Hagley Park in Christchurch on March 10-11.
Forty-two bands across four grades gave it their all at the championships – for City of Tauranga Pipe Band this title is their second at the national contest – the band won Grade 2 more than 40 years ago in 1982. They also won champion drum corps, champion bass and tenor section in Grade 2.
The band’s youngest player, piper Josh Murray, 17, who began piping while at primary school, says being part of such a massive event was made less daunting because of the great team around him.
The band is a tightknit group of 32 – comprising 16 pipers, eight snare drummers, six tenor drummers, and the bass drummer with Drum Major Doug Hendry out in front on parade.
Pipe Major Warren Aitken and drum corps leader, Drum Sergeant Neil Mogey, had a solid plan which they’ve executed during the past few years to get the band to the top of the grade, says the band’s secretary Angela Kell.
“Pipe bands come from a military tradition and there was plenty of personal discipline and many practices required to reach the top of a very competitive grade.”
In the final mix, City of Tauranga won seven of the eight trophies possible last weekend.
“There’s no better feeling than to have 18 months of hard work rewarded.”
Drum Sergeant Neil Mogey, who celebrated a birthday at the championships, says the result is “the best gift” – and the whole band could share it.
Angela says it’s been a winning season for the band, taking the top prizes at four build-up contests since November.
“Those competitions were all in the North Island, so the added test against South Island contenders loomed at the championships.
“The band had come agonisingly close to winning the championship when it was last held in 2021, finishing runner-up to Canterbury Caledonian Society who were on home ground this year.”
The City of Tauranga Pipe Band is the Grade 3 band in New Zealand and the South Pacific for 2023. Photo: Supplied.
DM Doug Hendry says the band worked hard on all components of its performance, including mental approach “and it was gratifying to see it come together”.
But even best plans and preparations can go awry. Doug was tasked with driving the band’s trailer packed with drums to Christchurch. Problems with the Interislander ferries created plenty of anxiety until the band gear was finally on the water last week.
Angela says the band has a very strong family focus – more than half of members have a sibling, parent, child or partner playing alongside them.
“Many more family members are actively involved as supporters, especially on competition trips away. So the old adage rings true… ‘the family that plays together, stays together’.”