Topic: NZ Music

Brothers blowing away the competition

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Representing Te Arawa, Ngatai, Maneo and Paerau Armstrong are competing at the Royal NZ Pipe Bands Association National Championships being held in Rotorua.

The brothers are part of the City of Rotorua Highland Pipe Band after encouragement from a mother who wanted them to try something different.

It's a family affair for the siblings who whakapapa to Tūhourangi, Ngāti Wahiao with mum Leslie Armstrong nee Waaka of Whakarewarewa close by to offer support.

“My twins Ngatai and Maneo play the bagpipes and my baby Paerau is on the drums,” says Armstrong, "This is the first time all three brothers have competed in a national pipe bag championships and the event is significant for the family.

Mum Leslie says, “This is very different for my boys.  My partner is from Christchurch, he is European- but we wanted our children to know both sides, Māori and Scotsman.” 49 pipe bands are competing in the annual NZ pipe band championships event which began in 1926.

According to Kevin Nally, organiser of the event, “The pipe band movement in NZ was created by Scotsmen who immigrated to NZ and brought with them their music...they set about setting up bagpipe bands and it's just grown from there.”

The winners will be announced tomorrow and next year's event will be held in Dunedin.