The following background information and request for support has been submitted by Rachel Parkinson. Rachel is a New Zealand citizen currently living in Metro Vancouver, and has recently competed in the New Zealand Pipe Band Championships in Rotorua (about 300 km from Gisborne).
New Zealand has traditionally had a very active and vibrant pipe band community, with almost every small town having their own pipe band. Most of these community bands have very long histories, with many now celebrating over 100 years of existence. Unlike here in North America where bands tend to rent practice venues, community bands in New Zealand have historically operated their own band halls. These are usually simple wooden buildings with a central hall area, along with drum and uniform storage areas, often a dedicated drummers’ room, and a kitchen where pad and chanter practices take place (as well as the all-important post-practice cup of tea!). They usually have a real sense of history and community to them, with band photos from throughout the decades proudly displayed along the walls. A common scenario is that these halls are situated on municipally owned land with long-term leases, but with the building itself owned by the band. Along with the ever-present costs of running an active band, many bands are also now facing high costs to maintain their beloved historic halls, jeopardizing the long-term future of both the halls and the bands. Given how many pipers and drummers have come through these community band halls over the years, they have become an important historical and cultural icon of the pipe band community.
I am reaching out to you as a fellow piper on behalf of the New Zealand – City of Gisborne Highland Pipe Band.
We need your help, having exhausted all avenues locally, to raise the funds needed to restore our historic band rooms. The rooms are decaying and will slip into the river if we cannot get them re-piled. We are struggling to raise enough money through selling firewood to make them safe and so we are reaching out to the rest of the world!
Please see our story from the front page of the local paper here –
And this is the page we have set-up, which also gives a bit more information on what we are trying to achieve, to raise funds –
Thanking you in advance for your kind help,
With best wishes,
224 Valley Road