Scottish Highland Dancing & Piping in Dunedin

Scottish Bag Piping

Scottish Bag Piping Video

Scottish Highland Dance

Scottish Highland Dance Video


(Source: )

The Scottish settlement story began when two of the founding fathers of Dunedin – Captain William Cargill and Reverend Thomas Burns broke away from the Church of Scotland to create their own church – The Free Church of Scotland.

Their goal was to create a Scottish religious community A New Edinburgh in New Zealand and Otago was chosen as the site.

Dunedin didn’t become a totally religious community as people from other countries and religions also wanted to settle in the area.

However the 12,000 or so Scottish immigrants who arrived in the 1850s, helped to strengthen the Scots-Presbyterian character of the City.

By 1886 there were approximately 55,000 Scots estimated to be living in New Zealand.


Scottish settlers who came to Otago were mainly from the Lowlands but they bought with them the Highlanders love of kilts, pipes and games.

As a consequence pipe bands became a focal point of Scottish society in Dunedin along with Highland dancing.

The Caledonian Society of Otago was established in August 12th 1862 to promote Scottish literature, culture and sports.

The society went on to organise the first Highland Games in 1862 which included Highland dancing, marching, pipeband competitions, and tossing the caber.

These competition are still held today – 2010 is the 148th year of the games.

More about the Scots in New Zealand can be found here:


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi, is it possible to have a link from my website to your site. I am a small specialist business selling highland dance and scottish country dance shoes and handknitted kilt socks made in Scotland. I would like to forge links with dancers in New Zealand. Many dancers in the UK and Australia are choosing to wear Munro shoes because they were designed by a champion highland dancer and teacher. Please look at the website and see what you think.
    I would welcome your comments. Our Uk highland juvenile champion wears Munro shoes.
    Her name is Ellis Hayes, some of your dancers who travel for competitions may know of her.
    Many thanks and greetings from Engalnd. Marie.

    1. JY says:

      Sure. It’s not a problem with me.

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