The Hororata Highland Games

The Hororata Highland Games (HHG) was created in 2011 from the community’s desire to take charge of its own future following the Canterbury earthquakes and the devastation of a number of key community facilities. Rather than wait for assistance a motivated group of individuals developed a theme which resonated with them and filled a unique gap in the event market, the HHG was born and is now a permeant fixture in the Scottish Competition calendar.

The event attracts over 300 competitors who compete in Highland Dancing, Piping and Drumming, Tug O’ War, Highland Spin (a fleece to garment challenge), Small Bore Shooting, Amateur Scottish heavy athletics (men’s and women’s) and the Oceania Heavyweight Championship (professional Scottish heavy athletics). Competitors come from throughout New Zealand and internationally to compete.

2016 saw a record crowd of Over 10,000 attend. Visitors don’t come just to sit on the bleachers, but all ages can have a go themselves in modified or replicas of the competitive events. Have A Go events include the Junior Warriors, Caber or Sheath toss, Lightweight Farmers Walk, Small Bore Shooting, Archery, Kilted Mile, Haggis Hurl and the Hororata Pie Eating Competition. Most of these events are free to participate in.

The event hosts over 100 stalls offering quality merchandise and produce. In the stalls area there is a children’s fairground, music entertainment and Scottish country dancing. Many stalls have a Taste of Scotland on offer. Visitors discover Scottish heritage and their ancestry in Clan Lane.

The Chieftain’s Welcoming Ceremony is a unique blend of Scottish and Kiwi culture. A Karanga
welcomes the Chieftain, but the response comes from Bag Pipes. A Kapa Haka group adds even more
flare and excitement to this spectacle. The Massed Bands closing ceremony is heart pounding and a
fitting end to the day.

The event engages 200 volunteers, many of whom are local. However, there are a number who have been drawn to the event who had no prior association with the community. These people are involved because they see not only what the event is doing for the community, but also what it is doing for the Scottish sports and arts.

This is a family friendly event that appeals to all ages and visitors don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy it!


“I was impressed with how well organised the event was and by the number of people who attended which was considerably more than most Highland Games in Scotland. The Hororata Highland Games is most definitely authentic, paying tribute to many Scottish traditions, but I really enjoyed the new elements that have been introduced and the ‘Kiwi twist’ was very special,” 2015 Chieftain, Alex Bruce, Director of Adelphi Distillery, Scotland.

“An amazing experience, an extremely well run event. I’m definitely coming back again and bringing the family. Best highland games I have ever attended,” Amateur heavy athlete, Liam McNeight, Sydney.

 “An absolutely well organised event. A pleasant day out with family,” Spectator, Beth Norgate, Oxford.

 “We love the Hororata Highland Games – the best of its kind, in NZ, in my opinion.  The timing is also perfect for the build-up to the NZ pipe band contest season,” Pipe Major South Canterbury Development Pipe Band, Scott Shannon, Timaru.

 “We had a very enjoyable day.  We were amazed at the assistance we got from your workers in unpacking and setting up.  That position was ideal for us (under the tree) in the shade.  The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and the organization couldn’t have been better. A good day financially as well, which always helps. We would definitely be interested next year,” Stallholder, Jim and Anne Conaghan, Conagan’s Gourmet Foods, Rakaia.