There were bagpipes and kilts as far as the eye could see as more than 40 pipe bands, including two of our own, marched through Christchurch’s central city.
The march was part of the 2023 New Zealand and South Pacific Pipe Band Championships, held in Hagley Park last weekend.
Police had two bands entered in the championships: the New Zealand Police Pipe Band (NZPPB) competed in Grade 1 and the Auckland Police Pipe Band (APPB) competed in Grade 3.
The Auckland Police Band and colour party in Cranmer Square before the march.
Congratulations to Drum Major Eddie Eeles, from the APPB, who was awarded third place in the Drum Major’s championship. Unfortunately, neither Police band achieved a placing in the competition this year.
While there are currently no serving Police staff in the NZPPB, there are two retired officers, Dale Stephens (former inspector) and Craig Watson (former detective).
Serving Police staff in the APPB who took part in the event last weekend include Inspector Scott Webb (Tāmaki Makaurau), Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Allan (Auckland City) and Glenys Webb (Waitematā, Forensics).
Congratulations also to Drum Major Callum Thompson from the Police File Management team based in Tāmaki Makaurau, who secured a third placing in the staff-flourishing competition. Callum led another Auckland-based band, the City of Sails Pipe Band.
The New Zealand Police Pipe Band in action.
While the event had a festival-like atmosphere overall, it was bittersweet for one band in particular.
The NZPPB wore black armbands to honour the band’s former Pipe Major Ian Robertson - known as ‘Robbo’ - who passed away after an illness this year.
Robbo’s death had a profound effect on the band. They played a special tune that was specifically written for him for the first time in the street march and one of the pipers played Robbo’s bagpipes in the event.
Undoubtedly the highlight for the many spectators lining the streets on Friday was the street march.
Leading our Police bands were Constable Tim Yaxley and police dog Lux (Canterbury), flag bearers Constable Amanda Clarke (Canterbury) and Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Allan (Auckland), Inspector Craig Scott (Canterbury) and former Inspector Dale Stephens.