Comunn na Piobaireachd AGM, 5pm Staurday 23 April, Lisdisfarne Colledge


Executive Summary

Comunn na Piobaireachd has had another year actively pursuing the goals it established for itself in 2009 to attract more young players to piobaireachd sooner and to improve their performance through high quality tuition.  It maintained the provision of dedicated piobaireachd tuition at the annual RNZPBA Summer School.  It provided on-line access to teaching recordings in the set tunes for the 2011 Silver Medal Competition through its internet web site.  It has also organised a 4 day live-in teaching seminar to follow the 2011 Hastings Highland Games with Dr Angus MacDonald as the principal tutor.

The Society enjoyed record numbers of entries in its 2010 competitions which were held for the first time in a new purpose built musical auditorium at Lindisfarne College.  This venue represents a further elevation in the quality and status of the Society’s competitions.

The Society has maintained its financial position (with total reserves of around $33,000).  It continues to actively pursue the Friends of Piobaireachd initiative launched at last year’s Annual General Meeting.  This will enable CNP to continue to undertake a range of activities while building its reserves into the future.

On a more sombre note, Lady Ruth McKay and Alastair Munro both passed away during the year.  Both represent a great loss to the piping community.  Alastair’s passing, in particular, challenges the Society to lift our eyes and focus on the future.  Key in meeting this challenge is to engage with the next generation of players, encourage them to become members of CNP, and ensure that the Society is meeting their needs and aspirations for piobaireachd.

Lady Ruth McKay and Alastair Munro Pass


The year was not without its sadness and setbacks.  On 22 May last year Lady Ruth McKay passed suddenly and peacefully at home in Karori surrounded by her family.  Lady Ruth had been associated with Comunn na Piobaireachd for almost as long as Sir Ian.  Through her support of him the Society owes her a tremendous debt of gratitude and we all feel the loss at her death.

Then on 17 February Alastair Munro passed after a long and debilitating illness which he bravely fought until the last.  Alastair’s death is not only cause for great sadness resulting from the personal loss of a close friend but it also represents a loss of tremendous tangible support for the activities of CNP.  Alastair had been a member of the General Committee since 1971 and Chairman of the Music Committee since 1996.  CNP had come to rely heavily on his expertise and enthusiasm in setting and pursuing its direction and for ensuring the success of its activities.  Key among these was establishing the Silver Medal Competition.  In addition, the Society benefited from the generous financial support he provided both personally and through his business Dye Chem.  He had for a number of years sponsored the Clasp event.  He had also given generously to support the Society’s teaching initiatives, and in particular its involvement with the RNZPBA Summer School.

In recognition of Alastair’s contribution the 2011 Clasp event has been named the “Alastair Munro Memorial Gold Clasp”.  The Society’s Competition Brochure, available on the website for those not able to attend this year’s Easter Games, contains a section referring to Alastair’s life and piping exploits.

 2010 Comunn Na Piobaireachd Competitions

The Society’s 52nd annual competitions were held at the Hastings Easter Highland Games.  The 2010 Games were notable for the record numbers of entries in the Comunn na Piobaireachd Competitions.  A total of 47 entries were received across the 3 competitions.

The Comunn na Piobaireachd competitions were held in the new purpose built music suite at Lindisfarne College.  Such a specialist venue has been long anticipated and marks a milestone in the maturity of our competitions.  The Clasp event was held on the Friday evening and with 11 competitors was possibly the largest ever.  It was not completed until after midnight as a consequence.

The Society also continued to be indebted to its competitions’ sponsors.  Alastair Munro and his company Dye Chem deserve special mention for their very generous sponsorship of the Clasp Competition.  CNP is also grateful to Bruce Cawood for his support of the Silver Medal Competition and the Special Prize.

The results for the competitions were as follows.


1st       Greg Wilson
2nd      Brian Switalla
3rd      Stuart Easton
4th      Iain Robertson

Gold Medal

1st      Scott Kennedy
2nd      Liam Kernaghan
3rd      Tom Glover
4th      Gary Stewart

Silver Medal

1st       Angus Hawke
2nd      Ben Murray
3rd      Simon Fraser
4th      George Stick

As the winner of the Silver Medal, Angus Hawke also received the Comunn na Piobaireachd Special Prize, being the complete volumes of the Borreraig is Borderline Collection.

The Society continues to maintain a strong relationship with the Hawkes Bay Highland Games.  The new piobaireachd venue at the Games has seen the quality of the competitions lift to another level.  In addition, the Games have continued to support the Gold Medal Competition.  This is most pleasing from the Society’s perspective

Competitions in Scotland

Every year pipers have come to count on, and enjoy, the exploits of New Zealand’s pipers in Scotland.  As we have come to expect in recent years, New Zealanders abounded in number and in the quality of their performances.

Perhaps the standout result last year was Marion Horsburgh’s win in the piobaireachd at the Royal Braemar Highland Games for the second year running with Brendon Eade placed third.  New Zealanders’ success at this per-eminent event continues unabated.  An enduring link has also been cemented in the form of the Donald Bain Memorial Quaich, which is awarded to the winner of the piobaireachd event.  New Zealanders’ virtual mortgage on the event in recent years is turning into something of a stranglehold.

As regards the other major competitions, the results for the Northern Meeting Gold Medal and Clasp piobaireachd events were as follows;


1st    Jack Lee, “Nameless Lament” and “Lament for the Bishop of Argyll”

2nd   Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland, “Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor MacLeod” and “Left Hand”

3rd    Roddy MacLeod, Glasgow

4th    Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland

5th    Niall Matheson, Inverness, Scotland

Judges: Malcolm McRae, Jack Taylor, Andrew Wright

Gold Medal    1st    Andrew Hayes

2nd   Niall Stewart

3rd    William Geddes

4th    Andy Rogers

5th    Jori Chisholm

Judges: Bill Livingstone, John MacDougall, Iain MacFadyen

The results for the Argyllshire Gathering Gold Medal and Senior Piobaireachd events were as follows;

Senior           1st    Dr. Angus MacDonald “The Old Woman’s Lullaby” and “The

Piobaireachd          Aged Warrior’s Sorrow”

2nd   Angus MacColl

3rd    Iain Speirs

4th    Jack Lee

Judges: Iain MacFadyen, John MacDougall, Colin MacLellan


Gold Medal    1st    Faye Henderson “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”

2nd   Chris Armstrong

3rd    Douglas Murray

4th    Fiona Manson

5th    Cameron Drummond

Judges: Tom Speirs, Jack Taylor, Willie Morrison

Congratulations to Fiona.  In addition, it is worthy mentioning Tracey Williams 3rd in the Silver Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering and Brendon Eade’s win in the ‘A’ Grade March, Strathspey and Reel competition at the Northern Meeting.

Seminars and Teaching – “More Players, Younger Players, Better Players”


In early 2009 the whole of the General Committee considered a direction for its activities.  It was agreed that CNP would focus its teaching and other support efforts on attracting more young players to piobaireachd sooner and improving their performance through high quality tuition.

The Society continued with its work in this area through its involvement in the RNZPBA Summer School in January 2011.  Tracey Williams, following the good work of Lewis Turrell, provided engaging and expert tuition for those players present who wished to expand their piobaireachd expertise.  Again it was pleasing to see the large number of young players coming forward.

Later in the year the Society arranged for Malcolm McRae to record tuition on the Society’s Silver Medal tunes for 2011.  This tuition was then posted to the Society’s internet site to be downloaded by those seeking it.  Using the internet to make tuition more readily available is another example of how the Society intends to continue to reach out to younger players in particular.

To follow the 2011 Easter Highland Games, the Society has arranged a four day live-in teaching seminar at Apiti with Dr Angus MacDonald of Skye as the principal tutor.  Dr Angus is one of the leading players in Scotland and last year won the Senior Piobaireachd competition at the Argyllshire Gathering.  Currently in New Zealand for six months on sabbatical from his Scottish medical practice and undertaking locum work in the Waikato, the Society is most fortunate to have been able to secure his piping services.  The seminar will offer instruction in a range of tunes, including those tunes to be set for the 2012 CNP competitions.  It is most gratifying to see that the majority of those who have enrolled to attend are younger players.


The Comunn na Piobaireachd Officer Bearers for the 2010-11 year is as follows;

Patron:                    His Excellency The Hon Anand Satyanand, P.C.N.Z.M., Governor-General of New Zealand


President:               George Mason


Vice Presidents:       Marion Horsburgh and Stuart Finlayson


Secretary/Treasurer:          Dr Brendon Eade


Music Committee:    Alastair Munro (Chairman), Greg Wilson (Secretary), Brian Switalla, Lewis Turrell and Bain McGregor


General Committee: All of the above (excluding the Patron), Iain Hines and Richard Hawke.


Honorary Auditor:    Graeme Mitchell

Brendon Eade was newly elected to the role of Honorary Secretary Treasurer at the 2010 Annual General Meeting.  We are most grateful for consistent work that Brendon, assisted by his wife Meleana, have put into the Society’s activities during the course of the year.

Philip Mair continues to maintain our website.  The website provides a valuable real time link for our members and the wider piping community to the events of the day.  We owe our thanks to Philip for his ongoing work.

Casey Wilkes continues to work wonders with the Society’s publications.  In particular we owe him a debt of gratitude for the very high standard “Future of Piobaireachd In New Zealand” document which supports the Friends of Piobaireachd initiative.  In addition, Casey has maintained publication of the Society’s annual competitions brochure to an unmatched standard.

Graeme Mitchell is the Society’s Honorary Auditor.  Graeme is recognised as one of the countries foremost financial auditors.  Members and Friends can be well satisfied that their hard earned contributions are properly accounted for and the Society conducts all of its financial activities to a high standard.



Copies of the Society’s financial statements for 2010-11 are enclosed.  Also enclosed are the accounts for the Donald Bain Memorial Fund – of which the Society is Trustee and which are also to be considered for formal approval at the Society’s Annual General Meeting.  The accounts have been audited and Audit Reports will be provided to the Annual General Meeting.  The financial position of the Society and the Fund continue to be strong, with reserves totalling over $33,000 between CNP and the Donald Bain Memorial Fund.  This is primarily as a result of the sponsorship support we have received.  The Friends, however, are positioned to make a valuable contribution into the future.

“Friends of Piobaireachd”

Further to the change in the Society’s rules agreed at the 2009 Annual General Meeting, the Society has now been registered as a charity.  In order to take advantage of this status, the Society is undertaking a formal campaign to build its financial reserves.  This is particularly to fund further work around its goals of attracting more young players to piobaireachd sooner and improving their performance through high quality tuition.

Key in that fund raising campaign was the launch of a “Friends of Piobaireachd” initiative at the 2010 Annual General Meeting.  The Friends is a way of recognising people who give sustained financial support for the activities of the Society.  Individuals can become a Friend by making donations of at least $200 per year.  Donations over a 10 year period (or single contribution of $2,000 or more) will result in recognition as a Lifetime Friend.

The Society offers Friends free spectator entry to any of its competitions, special updates each year advising the activities undertaken and those planned by the Society and the opportunity for public recognition as a Friend.  This list of Foundation Friends is currently as follows:

Lifetime Friend  – Alastair Munro

John Hanning

Iain Hines

Iain Blakely

Broadbent family

Bill Sharp

George Mason

Paul Ross

Eade family

Marion Horsburgh

David Horsburgh

Philip Mair

Nigel Foster

Greg Wilson

Lewis Turrell

The Friends warrant the Society’s special gratitude for their commitment to the Society’s objectives and their very tangible support to achieve those.  The Society’s intention is to retain its current Friends and enlarge its Friend base to around 50 over the next 1-2 years.

The Society has published a formal document identifying its goals for the future and providing a range of ways for individuals to contribute financially to them, including becoming a Friend of Piobaireachd.  A copy of the document, under the heading “The Future of Piobaireachd in New Zealand” is available from the Secretary on request or can be downloaded from the Society’s internet site at


The Society’s accounts reveal that our membership has declined from the previous year.  Membership is now at the point where it is critical that the Society engage with the next generation of players, encourage them to become members, and ensure that we are meeting their needs and aspirations for piobaireachd.

This is a key challenge for the year ahead.

George Mason



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