In addition to the formal Games Day athletics, dancing and musical competitions, there are many other attractions to involve yourself in or be entertained by – such as; Kids Clan Club, musical items, Strength Games, Avenue of Clans, children’s games area, food and drink stalls, bars, café and souvenir stands.

2020 Programme

New Year’s Day



9.00 am

  • NZ Championship Piping and Drumming Competitions begin.

9.30 am

  • Street March and Grand Entry of Bands and Clans, The Centre entrance.
  • Official Salute outside the Barn.
  • Highland Heavyweight Events, Main Arena.
  • Highland and National Dancing, Stage 1.

10.00 am

  • Dancing beside the Barn, Stage 1.
  • Scottish Official Board Highland Dancing, Stage 2.
  • Fiddling Competition, Coronation Hall.
  • Register for Strength Games, Arena 2.
  • Register for Tug of War, Arena 2.

10.30 am

  • Kids ‘Clan Club’ and Running Races, Centre Track.
  • Register for Tartan in the Park, Art’nTartan tent.

12.30 pm

  • Lunch Break.

1.00 pm

  • Massed Bands, Main Arena.
  • Clans and Massed Highland Fling, Main Arena.
  • Singing, The Flower of Scotland, Main Arena.
  • Parade of Costumes, Main Arena.

1.15 pm

  • Kids ‘Clan Club’ prize draws, Main Arena.
  • Official Opening, Main Arena.

1.30 pm

  • Competitions continue.

2.00 pm

  • Tartan in the Park begins, Variety Stage.

2.15 pm

  • Tug of War Competition, Arena 2.

3.00 pm

  • Heavyweight Battle of the McLeod’s Caber Toss, Arena 2.

3.15 pm

  • NZ Record attempt at Ray White 160 lb Farmers Walk, Arena 2.

7.30 pm

  • Ceilidh – Scottish Barn Dance in The Celtic Barn.


Many Clans participate at our annual celebrations with all Clans formally marching into the Caledonian Park at the beginning of the Games and as well as being the part of the massed parade of competing Pipers, Drummers, and Dancers at the lunchtime official welcoming.

Many famous Clans are associated with the original settlers who migrated to Waipu from Scotland via Nova Scotia with local descendants enjoying renewing friendships with family and visitors, many of who come to our event from all over New Zealand and around the world.

The majority of Clan Sites have extensive research material available and visitors are encouraged to check out their genealogy, traditions, heritage along with many other fascinating aspects of Clan Associations.

Heavyweight Events

Scottish Highland Heavyweight events are the original ‘extreme sports’, leaving even the best Olympians in awe and are always one of the real attractions of any Highland Games.

We are renowned for having a highly competitive Heavy Weight championship field with competitors coming from all around New Zealand and off-shore to challenge themselves against the best, requiring excellent timing, balance and technique and looking so much more impressive wearing a kilt!

These Heavyweight events hark back to the times when Kings and Clan Chiefs assessed the agility, cunning and physical strength of their followers. 22lb Gaelic Hammers are thrown. 56lb weights on short chains are thrown for both distance and height. 22lb rocks are thrown as with a shot put. 14 lb sheaves are tossed high over a bar and of course, the mighty caber is tossed. Up to 130lbs and 18 feet long the caber has to be turned end to end in the toss, while the crowd cheers the competitor on. The Heavyweight event finish with the Farmers Walk where a 160lb weight is carried in each hand for as long as is possible.

Patrick Hellier, holder of many records over many years.

Jayden Hill, 2020 winner.

Jayden Hill, 1st, and Jacko Gill, 2nd, 2020.


Highland Dancing

These competitions are a very big part of every Waipu Highland Games. Ranging from Under 8-year-olds through to the Hector McDonald Trophy and the North Island Championship Open there is a lot at stake.

Highland dancing is a competitive and technical dance form requiring technique, stamina, and strength, and is recognised as a sport by the Sport Council of Scotland. The dancers dance on the balls of their feet and is a form of solo step dancing, from which it evolved, Highland dancing involves not only a combination of steps but also some integral upper body, arm, and hand movements.

Sword dancing involves dancing over two naked swords which are laid across each other on the floor, while a dancer moves nimbly around them and has long been linked with dances before a decisive battle or as a victory dance. Legend has it that if dancers successfully avoided touching either blade, then it was considered an omen that the next day’s battle would be in the clan’s favour. A more practical explanation behind the meaning of this dance can be found in the training halls of older styles of fencing, where students of the sword developed their footwork by following geometric patterns of crosses, squares and triangles marked out on the floor.

The pipers will be Bobbie Logan and Robert Halliday. Make sure you are at this 149th Highland Games at Waipu to see Scottish Dancing to its highest standard.

Scottish Country Dancing

There is always a display of Scottish Country Dancing and a chance for anyone to have a go. A chance to try some simple dances – you don’t have to have a partner – just a smile and a determination to have fun. You can have fun while keeping fit, meet many new friends while dancing to Scotland’s toe-tapping music.

Scottish Country dancing is alive and well in Northland, New Zealand, with Clubs in Whangarei, Kamo, Dargaville, Kerikeri, Bay of Islands and Kaitaia. This social dancing requires nothing more than a smile to start, even a partner isn’t necessary, so don’t worry about going alone. Beginners are assured of a warm welcome.


There has been Scottish piping since time began. Lowland pipers played songs and dance music, as was expected by their audience. Over the mountains and glens, however, Highland pipers were strongly influenced by their background of the Celtic legends and the wild nature of the Highlands. The Highland piper occupied a high and honoured position within the Clan system. To be a piper was sufficient and, if he could play well, nothing else would be asked of him. The skirl of pipes has been used to support men going into battle in many countries and gained a surge in popularity during both World Wars. 

At the Waipu Games, pipers amass from all over the country to battle their colleagues in the prestigious competition which goes all day. Pipes can be heard accompanying the Scottish Highland Dancing. The marching in of the massed bands at lunchtime is a sight not to be missed. Singing The Flower of Scotland to the massed pipes is a wonderfully uplifting experience.


The Robert Turner Drumming Championship, held annually at our Games, is one of New Zealand’s largest solo pipe drumming contests. It features side, tenor and bass drumming events in all grades, attracting competitors from across the country.


The fiddle tradition in Scotland is just as rich as that of the pipes and drums, yet it is relatively unknown on this side of the world. The various regional styles gather strands from the music of the bagpipes, Gaelic song, ancient Norse conquerors, Irish travellers, the ballrooms of wealthy patrons, humble village Ceilidhs and weave them all into a distinctive Scottish sound. Each year we are privileged to have world-recognised fiddle players from Scotland Australia and Nova Scotia to not only judge our players, but also mentor and encourage them.

Waipu Variety Stage

Located in the Avenue of Clans, by the trees with chairs and tables. Grab a drink and a bite to eat from the many great vendors, take a shady break and enjoy the laid-back music of local Waipu entertainers from 9.30am to 3.30pm. Hosted by Twisty Willow Celtic Band.

The music will have a Scottish flavour and includes different genres within that brief – Traditional, Country, Rock etc. all played at a volume that will enable you to enjoy but not interfere with the serious music for the dance competitions! You may be tempted to hop up and dance!

The Waipu Scottish Country Dancers provide dance displays morning and afternoon on the grass in front of the stage to the music of Twisty Willow. “The Tartan in the Park” costume competition will be held on stage at 2.00pm.

The modular Variety Stage was built by the Waipu Men’s Shed.

Tartan in the Park

Dress up in your most creative Scottish garb and enter the casual Tartan in The Park competition. First introduced by the Clan McLean Association at the 2008 Games as a fun way to encourage the wearing of Scottish attire among all age groups. It is a relaxed, enjoyable show held on the Variety Stage where contestants show off their creations – which must have some tartan included, a few words on the idea behind the outfit and which tartan they are wearing is all that is required.

There are several sections with entries to be submitted on Games Day before 1.30pm at the stage. 

Strength Games

Ideal events for those of you who are ‘kids at heart. Gather a group of like-minded friends and take part in our selection of fun-filled events. Come and try to beat your mates at the Strength Machine, toss a reasonably sized caber or hammer and try to lift a massive stone onto a barrel. And of course, there will be tug of war competitions to test your mettle.

Kids Clan Club

A chance for primary school-aged kids to test their strength and energy levels in all sorts of challenges – such as sack races, egg and spoon, barrel races, running races and tug of war. With a $5 entry fee, each child will get their own Clan Club t-shirt, the chance to compete in as many events as they wish with the opportunity to win prizes on the day, then join the rest of their Clan Cub mates marching as a group in the lunchtime ceremony as well going into the exclusive Clan Club draw to win one of three $500 Rebel Sport store vouchers.

NB: Limited to the first 300 kids.

Online entries have now closed but you can still register and play on the day.


Sincere thanks to our amazing Kidzone sponsors:

  • Waipu ITM
  • Waipu Your Vet
  • Philip and Annette Eustace
  • Northpine
  • Camp Waipu Cove
  • Waipu Hammer Hardware

Other Entertainment

The Helen McGregor Memorial Trophy Night

Helen’s dying wish was a competition set up where pipers at the Waipu Highland Games could “flair their fingers” playing whatever they liked – be it a medley or several pieces, a modern pop song or something composed by themselves – with an eight minute time limit.

New Zealand’s top pipers enter this prestigious event which has grown in popularity over the years. Judging is by popular assent and with an eminent piper adding his/her points as well. Held on New Year’s Eve in the Celtic Barn foyer starting at 7pm, tickets $10 available at the door. Supper is served, bar sales available and it finishes early so that you can still go out and party the night away. A great way to start Hogmanay.

The Norsemen

This entertaining re-enactment group are setting up camp on Games Day to show off Celtic living in the “old days”. The Norsemen (not to be confused with the Vikings – the legendary Scandinavian adventurers, explorers and plunderers), will arm themselves with swords, shields and axes and re-enact battles, skirmishing with unsuspecting warriors throughout the day and showing off traditional crafts and skills. 


7.30pm on New Year’s Day in the Celtic Barn.

A traditional Scottish social gathering, involving Gaelic folk music, song, dance and convivial company, held at the end of our Games Day each year. Enjoy the bagpipes and Celtic music from “Twisty Willow” the fabulous folk music group headed by Barb and Wes who will play for and guide you through traditional Gaelic Ceilidh dances. The generous country supper starts with traditional Haggis ceremony complete with Piper, Banner Bearer and Ode Tae the Haggis, and the Waipu Scottish Country Dancers will perform an enthusiastic demonstration – making this an event not to be missed.


Get together a team of mates to take on another team in one of the tug-of-war battles in the arena from 2pm – prizes to the winning team. Register at the announcer’s desk for a 2.15pm start. Don one of our provided kilts and have some fun. 

Art ‘n’ Tartan

This iconic Waipu production will be on show at the Games with models of the entries from previous competitions. Be there to see what can be created and become inspired.


Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam powered machinery. Whangarei based ‘Krakens Lair’ will be joining us and sharing their unique take on fashion – clothing, hairstyling, jewellery, makeup and a twist on the wearing of Scottish Tartan. This group also meets every fortnight on Wednesday from 5.30pm at the Dickens Inn, Whangarei.  

New Year’s Camping

As the Caledonian Park will be fully utilized for the Waipu Highland Games, the Waipu Primary School field will be transformed into a campground over the New Year period. All money raised goes to the school.

Entrance: Camp reception will be at the St Marys Road entrance.

Costs:  $10 per night per person. Proceeds go to the Waipu Primary School. No EFTPOS facilities on site but there is an ATM in town at the McLeans Café.

Open:  From noon on Dec 30th to noon on January 2nd. Early arrival or late departure by agreement with the manager Jim Edge.

Gate: The gate will be closed each night from 10.00 pm until 7.00 a.m. 

  • Water taps outside the tractor shed
  • Male and Female toilets
  • One shower available
  • Free recycling
  • No electric power supply. No kitchen facilities


Manager: Jim Edge

Phone: 09 4320394

Address: 38 St Mary’s Road Waipu

Email: tinguitars@actrix.co.nz


  • No smoking anywhere on the school grounds or buildings
  • No dogs or other pets
  • No fireworks or any illegal activities
  • A reasonable standard of considerate behaviour at all times
  • Minimum noise between 10.pm and 7.am
  • No access to school buildings other than toilet and shower facilities
Security Disclaimer

This camping facility is provided for the convenience of competitors and visitors to the 2019 Waipu Highland Games at their own risk. No liability is taken by Waipu Primary School or by Jim Edge for site security. Please keep valuables with you or locked in your car.