Band History

The following information is referenced and taken et al from

The Celebration History of the Kapiti District (Kapiti Borough Council), compiled byOlive Baldwin 1988

Brief History of Formation and Activities of the Paraparaumu & Districts Highland Pipe Band and Caledonian Society.
Alistair MacArthur (1988)

The Pipe Band was officially formed on March 17th, 1952 (St Patrick’s Day), at a meeting of interested people at the residence of Mr John Tripp, Renown Road. Excerpts from the minutes of this meeting are as follows:-

“Hopes and aims were outlined by Mr Steve Tripp. All present were favourable and showed their keenness by joining there and then, elected the following officers:-
Chairman: Mr Steve Tripp
Secretary: Mr Harry Shaw
Treasurer: Mr John Tripp.”

First Pipe Major elected was Mr J. (Pat) Patterson, prior to this he was playing with the Wellington Police Pipe Band. To him fell the dauntless task of teaching all but two of those present to play bagpipes. Everyone was issued with practice chanters and tutor books. A practice chanter cost 12 shillings and 6 pence, tutor book 3 shillings and 6 pence. (A practice chanter today costs from $69.00 upwards) Once committed it was surprising how quickly most of us got through the basic exercises and on to our first tunes, then hunted around and bought bagpipes. New bagpipes cost from 35 pound, and second hand from 25 pound. (Today a new set of pipes range from $700 to $4-5000)

Later it was discussed by members that we should call a meeting of interested parties with a view to forming a Scottish or Caledonian Society. This was done 9th May, 1952, in Raumati South Memorial Hall. Guest speakers, advisers were Mr Vic Nicholson from Palmerston North and Mr Neil McPhee of Wellington. It was quickly resolved to form a Caledonian Society, and an election of officers took place.

First Chief was Mr Steve Tripp. It was resolved that “The Paraparaumu & Districts Caledonian Society” would be its full title, and The Paraparaumu & Districts Caledonian Society’s Highland Pipe Band would be its baby to look after (financially)

The Society then organised and started running a monthly social and dance, called an “Ingleside”, which loosely translated means a “gathering around the fireside” These were held very successfully on the last Friday of the month in the Raumati Beach Community Hall.

From these beginnings it was decided to hold a “Highland Ball”. The first one was held in the Raumati South Memorial Hall, attended by several Pipe Bands. The Ball was preceded by Bands marching down Tennis court Road to the Hall grounds, where massed Pipe Bands counter-marched on the adjacent “Village Green” which was illuminated by flares. The Ball became an annual event and was held on Friday nights for several years. In those days any dances held on a Saturday had to finish at midnight. It was highly illegal to have any liquor in the Hall, and many a visit was made to the “broom cupboard” to quench one’s thirst. For the first few years we had to invite the City of Wellington Pipe Band and Wellington Caledonian Pipe Band to play for traditional dances, such as the Eightsome Reel, Strip The Willow, etc. It was with a great sense of pride when, after a lot of hard work and practice, the Paraparaumu Pipe Band played the entire dance programme for the Ball. The Band has developed into one of the best bands for dance tempo, a reputation it still holds today.

This association with our Society and kindred associations has fostered our traditions over 36 years, and will continue. The advent of television quickly made inroads on attendances at Ingleside’s, forcing the reduction of monthly functions to four per year. A period of little activity persisted for a few years. However enough “hard core” members kept it alive. We are now climbing back, with more people becoming interested in both the Society and the Pipe Band. We will always be a well-known association within the Kapiti District.

It was in 1969, after several meetings between the committees of the Society and the Band, it was finally agreed to let the Band form its own autonomy and register as a separate incorporated society thus alleviating the Society of any financial responsibility for its commitment. From this point the Pipe Band has succeeded in financing its operations, including the building of Scots Hall in Weka Road Reserve in conjunction with the Caledonian Society. This was achieved with working bees by members, and over the years has proved to be highly successful. The loss of good bandsmen and women through job transfers from the district has always been a problem. Replacement of these people is only possible by new learners becoming available or people arriving in the district and joining our ranks. A continuous teaching policy is available to anyone interested in learning pipes or drums.

The annual “Paraparaumu Mini Bands Contest” which is held each year at Kapiti College has held its 29thcontest this year (1988). This function has grown to the extent that it is attended by bands from Whangarei to Christchurch, and solo pipers and drummers from North Cape to the Bluff. This function is on the calendar of most bands every year.

The excellent management of our affairs is, in the main, due to the original system invoked by our good friend and mentor the late Jack Jenkins, and has been continued by our Secretary/Treasurer for several years now Mr Brian Howman, and our President Mr Jim Hall. They are in turn supported by band members and the committee of the Caledonian Society.

From humble beginnings the two associations can look back on hundreds of functions, proud achievements, happy associations with kindred Societies and Bands, and the making of friendships too numerous to mention. The Paraparaumu & Districts Pipe Band has progressed over the years at the Dominion Contests from Grade 3 to Grade 2. It has competed for several years and hopes to continue.