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The Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands’ Association and 2022 National Contest Organising Committee have decided to cancel the New Zealand Pipe Band Championships due to take place in Auckland on 11/ 12 March 2022. This decision was made after consulting with member bands and the wider pipe band community.

Organising and preparing for a National Contest requires a sustained amount of hard work over a long period, plus significant financial and personal commitments from volunteers and the competing bands.

The 2021/2022 pipe band season has already been affected by cancellations. In any other year at this time competing bands would be gearing up for the first competitions of the season and making their final travel and accommodation arrangements. At the same time the local Organising Committee would be finalising funding and logistics for the Championships.

So far this year all pre-Xmas competitions have been cancelled, many bands are not practising in person, making financial commitments carries much greater risk, the Organising Committee is severely hampered in raising funds and making the necessary plans while Auckland remains locked down, individual band members are dealing with the same pressures being experienced by all New Zealanders, and there are numerous uncontrollable variables affecting the feasibility of the Contest.

The National Contest is a highlight of the Association’s annual calendar which brings around $2m to the local economy. Tāmaki Makaurau promised to be an outstanding location for this event.

We had hoped we could wait a little longer before making the call but it is clear delaying the decision a few more weeks in the hope conditions might allow planning to proceed will not make any difference and would further burden organisers and bands. It is better that we make the call now so bands and their members can plan their summers with certainty and focus on other things.

The 2022 Auckland National Contest Organising Committee are deeply saddened that this course of action is required. They have already done three years of preparatory work and had some exciting plans in place for a wonderful showcase of pipe band music and movement. They are committed to forging ahead when conditions permit and have announced they are ready to host the 2024 National Pipe Band Championships in Auckland. That decision will be made over the coming months.

The Annual General Meeting of the Association will also need to be rescheduled and further details will be sent to members when they have been finalised.

In light of the Contest’s cancellation and the ongoing impact of Covid-19, the Association is planning to refund all contest entry fees paid by bands and intends to provide member bands with a partial rebate of their 2021 Association subscriptions. Further details of each of these decisions will be sent at a later date.

The next National Pipe Band Championships will take place in Christchurch, in March 2023.

Enquiries should be directed to – Mark Wilson, National Contest Supervisor, RNZPBA,