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Glendarroch Annual Dance: A social weekend

The Glendarroch Scottish Country Dance Club are based in Whanganui, their Annual Dance is a perfect opportunity for a weekend break. It’s an afternoon dance so there is time to get from Wellington in the morning, non-stop it is two hours and 20 minutes or so. Back in the day you could have gone by train but that’s no longer an option.

Whanganui is a very attractive city with a lively feel and some wonderful old buildings, many of which have been restored and put to new uses. Along with Cape Town, Bilbao, Singapore, Berlin and Bangkok it has been designated a UNESCO City of Design.

But enough of design, what about the dancing? On Saturday 24 September, the Glendarroch dance was held in the Carlton School Hall, in Carlton Avenue. The music was by the Scottish Saltire Band from Wellington, decorating the stage with the Saltire of Scotland displayed prominently on their music stands. The hall was full of school decorations, flags of many nations and the House Shield, which sounds like something out of Harry Potter.

Dancing to the music of the Scottish Saltire Band at the Glendarroch Annual Dance. Photo: Robert Vale

The dancing began at 2pm with at least five sets on the floor. Several people had come from Wellington to join the fun, including four from Johnsonville. There were quite a few from the Tawa club, Tawa  have a tradition of attending Glendarroch’s dance and booking in at a motel together, where they meet up afterwards to chat.

Désirée at the right, one of the Johnsonville members at the dance. Photo: Robert Vale

We were kept pretty busy at the dance, there were eleven dances in the first part, followed by seven in the second. Quite a few of them were dances we had done over the past year or so at Johnsonville club nights. There was a break for conversation and catching up between the two lots of dancing.

Robert (centre) with the Whanganui tram. Photo: Dora Koleff

Only at the very end was the tea brought out, and very welcome it was. There was heaps of food, I heard they had provided extra as they knew that people were coming from Wellington for the dance.

The next day the dancers who had not headed home were able to have a ride on one of Whanganui’s former electric trams, which operates on Sunday afternoons on a short track down by the river.

I’m a tram driver (officially called a Motorman) at the Wellington Tramway Museum out in Queen Elizabeth Park near Paekākāriki, so I was allowed to drive the Whanganui tram with the Wellington dancers as passengers and I got it there and back without breaking anything.

Robert Vale
29 September 2022

Tawa Annual Dance: An evening of vigorous dancing

Saturday 17 September saw the Tawa Club’s Annual Dance in the spacious Ngaio Town Hall. Over five sets were on the floor with ten Johnsonville members among them. On stage in the band was Johnsonville Club musician Aileen Logie on accordion, along with Hilary Ferral on fiddle and Jason Morris on keyboard.

The Town Hall, always a good venue for a dance, had been decorated in advance by Tawa members, with a sumptuous display of tartan and greenery across the front of the stage – everyone had raided their gardens. The colour theme was repeated in the bunches of balloons and in the green tablecloths and tartan runners that appeared at supper time. These were made by Tawa tutor Catherine McCutcheon, who MC’d the event.

Catherine McCutcheon with the magnificent stage drapes she made. The lectern on the left is also draped in the same tartan fabric. Photo: John Patterson
Johnsonville members dancing the first dance, Anderson’s Rant, included Maureen (with Sandy obscured), Liz, Désirée, Robert, Loralee and Charles. Photo: John Patterson
MC Catherine McCutcheon with Jason Morris, Aileen Logie and Hilary Ferral on the beautifully decorated stage. Photo: Robert Vale

Half way through the first part of the programme we danced the square set Rothesay Rant with its wonderful fairground-style music. This must have been the most popular dance of the night as we got to do it twice.

Johnsonville dancers were among those enjoying Beach Dancer. Photo: Loralee Hyde
Johnsonville members Charles and Maureen dancing Beach Dancer. Photo: Loralee Hyde
Dancing the strathspey Athens of the North. Photo: Loralee Hyde
Athens of the North; from the book 90 – Twelve anniversary dances celebrating ninety years of the RSCDS Edinburgh Branch. Photo: Loralee Hyde

The first part finished with the popular classic The Reel of the 51st Division, at which point four tables were carried out into the hall laden with everything possible to sustain and strengthen us after eleven vigorous dances, together with freshly-brewed coffee and tea.

The second part, a further seven dances (thank goodness for supper) began with Shiftin’ Bobbins and ended with The De’il Amang the Tailors, two old favourites.

The programme of eighteen dances included six that will be on the programme of the Glendarroch Club’s Annual Dance on the afternoon of Saturday 24 September in Whanganui. It has become something of a tradition for Tawa members to attend the Glendarroch dance and stay there overnight, a chance to have a ride on the restored Whanganui tram on the Sunday.

Watch Pat Reesby’s videos:
Granville Market
Rothesay Rant

Secretary: Robert Vale

Robert Vale
21 September 2022

Send Her Victorious: Memories of Queen Elizabeth II

On club night on Monday 12 September we danced Send Her Victorious, a beautiful dance devised by Wouter Joubert of the Pretoria Branch in July 2012, in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration.

As Patron of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society for more than 75 years, the Queen has many dances named in her honour, celebrating royal events, places, people, and even her love for her corgis! Scottish Country Dancers will continue to be reminded of her through these dances if in no other way.

Queen Elizabeth dancing with Sir Iain Moncrieffe at the Golden Jubilee Ball in 1973 Photo: RSCDS

For those of a certain age, Send Her Victorious is more than the name of a dance. These well-known words come from the British National Anthem, sung throughout the Commonwealth in years gone by.

Additionally, quite a few of our members are British, others have lived in the UK, and it’s surprising how many of us have been caught up in royal celebrations, parades or visits in countries across the world.

Some of our club members bring us their memories of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, sharing their varied experiences and connections in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Enjoy recollections from our members:

Allison Kay: Daughter Caroline Presents the Queen with a Posy

Kristin Downey: Memories of Childhood and a Jubilee Quilt

Loralee Hyde: A Garden Reception at Government House and a Kōkako Poster Competition

Pat Reesby: The only female Photographer/reporter at the Queen’s visit to Taupō Swamp in Plimmerton and the Royal New Zealand Police College

Robert Vale: The Coronation ‘flypast’, a Sussex visit, and later Sandringham House

Other memories

If anyone else has memories of the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh to share, please email me your recollections, and any photos you may have

You can also:

Kristin Downey
15 September 2022

Allison Kay: Family memories of the Queen

Daughter Caroline Presents the Queen with a Posy

My memories are of my daughter Caroline meeting the Queen in November 2008 in London.

The All Blacks were in London and there was a big event to promote the 2011 Rugby World Cup being held in New Zealand. An oversized rugby ball structure was erected near Tower Bridge and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended the event, along with John Key, who had only just become New Zealand’s Prime Minister.

Of course, any event involving royalty requires a flower girl to present flowers to the queen, and my husband Kevin (who worked at MFAT at the time) was asked if Caroline would like to be flower girl.

I am not sure if father or daughter was most excited! I was unable to get the day off work (should have pulled a sickie), but Kevin and Caroline had the most wonderful day. You can see Kevin looking on proudly in the left of the wider photo .

Caroline presenting a posy to the Queen in London in 2008. Her father Kevin looks on proudly at the left. The rugby ball structure is at the back right.

When I talked to Kevin about it this week, he laughed and reminded me of the story that it was 2 degrees Celcius that day, and the All Blacks took shelter from the cold in the rugby ball before the Queen’s party arrived.

Caroline and the Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh behind at the left and Prime Minister John Key

Caroline had to stand on the spot designated to her outside for half an hour – she had to be more brave than the All Blacks.

The Queen asked Caroline what school she attended and then asked her about the school’s motto, which was on her blazer.

She then thanked her for the flowers – the organisers had been advised that the Queen only liked to receive small posies.

A lovely family memory.

Allison Kay
15 September 2022

Kristin Downey: Send Her Victorious – Memories of Queen Elizabeth II

Memories of Childhood and a Jubilee Quilt

Australia didn’t have its own National Anthem until 1984, and I seem to remember singing God Save the Queen every day on the parade ground of my small Queensland country school as we honoured the flag before starting the school day.

Memory is an elusive thing, so it’s quite possible singing God Save the Queen has become magnified in my mind over the years, but I know we sang it often enough that I will never forget the words – at least of the first verse.

I also have another memory that I can’t quite pin down, of being crushed in the crowd in Brisbane as we all craned our necks to see the Queen drive by – likely on her 1963 tour of Australia, when I would have been six or seven. But I can’t be sure that’s a true recollection.

Given the insubstantial nature of my early memories, it is safer to write about my more recent memories of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrated in June 2012.

Rod and I spent the first six months of 2012 in Cambridge (UK), where he was a visiting fellow at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, taking part in a world-wide celebration of Alan Turing’s life and scientific impact.

I joined a number of groups as a way to meet people, and learn some new things. There was a little patchwork/quilting group that met weekly in nearby St Mark’s Church hall, so I went along.

Their group project for the term was to make a patchwork quilt as a wall hanging for local celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We each made one small, simple square, and the teacher put the whole thing together with an image of the Queen as a centre-piece.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Quilt in 2012, containing a small square made by Kristin. Photo: Supplied

It was a very joyful time in England, I was touched by the affection people felt for the Queen and their enthusiastic preparations for the Jubilee. I hadn’t quite realised until then how big a part bunting played in English celebrations.

Our group quilt added to the festivities at many a morning tea, as it moved around the Church parish in early June – it had been down to the wire as to whether it would be finished in time or not.

Rod and I didn’t take part in any of the public events, but we celebrated in a very Kiwi way with a leg of New Zealand lamb for dinner.

There was also a Scottish Country Dance connection. Johnsonville Club member Pat Reesby was on a trip through the UK and visited us in Cambridge. At the last minute, she cunningly created Union Jack hats from serviettes to make our Jubilee dinner more truly English. 

Kristin and Rod celebrating at their Queen’s Diamond Jubilee dinner wearing Union Jack hats created by Pat Reesby. Photo: Pat Reesby.
Kristin and Pat touring the old town near King’s College, Cambridge University in the lead-up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Photo: Rod Downey

Kristin Downey
15 September 2022

Loralee Hyde: Memories of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh

A Garden Reception and a Kōkako Poster Competition

In 1995, I was part of a project team at State Insurance working in partnership with the Department of Conservation to help save the endangered bird, the kōkako. A prime objective of our Kōkako Recovery Plan was to raise awareness of this rare bird and the conservation strategies needed to save the species from extinction.

One of our first actions was to run a poster competition in primary schools throughout New Zealand with a focus on Save the Kōkako to increase awareness of the bird. We had a huge response with 507 schools participating and an estimated 35,000 entries.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh were attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in November 1995. Knowing of his interest in the environment and wildlife, we wrote to the Duke via the Department of Internal Affairs office that organised the Royal Tour, asking if he could present the poster winner’s prize at a function in Auckland on 10 November. He accepted!

Consequently, I received an invitation to a Garden Reception at Government House in Wellington on 3 November.

Leanne (who also worked on the poster competition) and I set off on a stunning Wellington day to enjoy an afternoon of fine refreshments with a chance to meet the Queen or Duke.

They appeared on the lawn in front of Government House, then went separate ways to meet as many people as possible. We were the first people the Duke spoke to. He asked why we were at the Reception and we talked about helping to save the kōkako through our recovery plan programme and how we’d see him on the 10th in Auckland at the prizegiving for the winner of a nationwide children’s poster competition. He replied “he’d look forward to seeing us there”.

Leanne and Loralee at the Garden Reception in 1995 with the Duke of Edinburgh behind them at the right

We also had a close-up view of the Queen chatting to guests in the next row to us. She was easy to spot in her trademark bright colours – this time pink!

The Queen in bright pink chatting to other guests at the Garden Reception at Government House

We reached the pinnacle of our Save the Kōkako poster competition 10 November when the Duke of Edinburgh presented the national winner with her prizes in Auckland. We decorated The National Maritime Museum on Hobson Wharf with our beautiful Kōkako Recovery Plan posters and 63 wonderful regional winning posters. The room was packed with excited regional winners and their parents.

Following his arrival and welcome from VIPs, the Duke chatted to the children and looked at their posters. One of the children was very keen to meet the Duke and he said “I was feeling so nervous I had to go off and be sick.”

In a short speech, the Duke expressed his wish that children should treasure bird species as they are, in sense, the making of New Zealand. “If you have not taken up bird watching yet, well I hope you do,” he said. The Duke then presented Melissa, a 10-year-old from Nelson with her prizes.

The Duke of Edinburgh talking to Loralee about the 1st prize (a rimu-framed Kōkako hand coloured etching by artist Mary Taylor) as he presents the artwork to Melissa.

We later received a letter from Sir Brian McGrath GCVO, a key member of Prince Philip’s Household, saying “The Duke of Edinburgh has asked me to write to thank you so much for all the support you are giving to the conservation of an endangered species in New Zealand. His Royal Highness hopes that the Kokako initiative will lead to more general appreciation of what can be done with a bit of determination.”

Loralee Hyde
15 September 2022

Pat Reesby: An Encounter with the Queen

The only female photographer/reporter at the Queen’s visit to Taupō Swamp in Plimmerton and the Royal New Zealand Police College

In 1986 I worked as reporter/photographer for Kapi-Mana News in Porirua. The Queen visited New Zealand and had asked to see an example of the work of the QEII National Trust.

All the Trust had to show her at the time was the Taupo swamp at Plimmerton, where a viewing platform was erected and a wooden shelter in case she wished to powder her nose during her 15-minute stop on the way to a more formal occasion at the Royal New Zealand Police College.

The crowd were lined up on the road verge beside the swamp, including a group of Cubs from the Plimmerton Scout Group.

I took photos of the Queen greeting people, accepting a posy from one of the cubs, and later at the Police College. But the closest I got to her was as she emerged from the shelter beside the swamp, accompanied by the Kapiti MP Margaret Shields.

Queen Elizabeth II at Taupō Swamp in 1986 with MP Margaret Shields. Photo: Pat Reesby
The Queen chats to people in the crowd at Taupō Swamp. Photo: Pat Reesby

Looking at the photo of the photographers I think I was the only female photographer (and doubled as reporter).

Pat as the only female photographer (in the centre at the back) at the Royal New Zealand Police College. Queen Elizabeth II conferred the title ‘Royal’ on the College during her visit for the Police Centenary celebrations in 1986. Photo: Supplied

I managed to find my scrapbooks of clippings from Kapi-Mana News, published in early March 1986.

Click on the links below to see more of my photos in the clippings:

Kapi-Mana News 1
Kapi-Mana News 2
Kapi-Mana News 3

Pat Reesby
15 September 2022

Robert Vale: Remembering the Queen (and her Consort)

The Coronation ‘flypast’, a Sussex visit, and later Sandringham House

The Coronation in June 1953 is one of my early memories. I was aged four and in the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London, where I spent a year being treated for tuberculosis which I had caught at my nursery school. I was very excited about the Coronation because as part of the celebration there was going to be a ‘flypast’ by the Royal Air Force and I was mad about aircraft at that time.

In 1966 the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were in Sussex to mark the 900th anniversary of the invasion of England. They visited my school, Eastbourne College, as part of its centenary celebrations.

Her Majesty inspected the Combined Cadet Force, of which I was a member. This was where I learned the useful life skills of marching, saluting, rifle drill and shooting, as well as how to polish Army boots and clean a .303.

A cheerful Queen inspecting members of the Eastbourne College Combined Cadet Force in 1966. Photo:

Although I was a cadet (it was voluntary, but you had to do it) I was not among the cadets being inspected by the Queen.

I was presented to her separately as the designer of the school’s hovercraft, which was demonstrated to the Royal party. The Duke remarked “I don’t see much future in these small hovercraft”. I have a photo of the event but cannot find it after moving house over Christmas 2021.

Robert test driving the Royally inspected hovercraft at Eastbourne College on Speech Day 1967

One of the pupils presented to the Royals was an avowed Republican, so he had one of the Royal bodyguards standing behind him at all times, just in case he might decide to attack the Queen.

Later in my early twenties, I worked for a firm of architects in Cambridge, David Roberts and Geoffrey Clarke. In the early 1970s they were commissioned to upgrade Sandringham House, the Queen’s residence in Norfolk and to replace part of the building called The Bachelors’ Wing.

I was put in charge of the alterations to the remaining buildings and spent hours wandering round the house taking measurements for drawings. The house was surprisingly un-palatial in many areas. The downstairs toilet was decorated with the original drawings of newspaper cartoons featuring the Duke of Edinburgh.

Being a rather scruffy long-haired leftie, it always amused me when the policeman on duty waved me through the palace gates in my VW Microbus.

Eventually the works were not carried out; the Royal Family did not feel it would be appropriate to do up their house while the rest of the country was on a three-day week as a response to a miners’ strike and consequent electricity rationing.

Robert Vale
15 September 2022

Lower Hutt Annual Dance 2022: Dancing with Momentum

I counted ten Johnsonville members dancing at the Lower Hutt Dance on Saturday 3 September, plus club musician Aileen who was on stage playing accordion for us the whole night long, along with member Hilary.

The dance was held in the Knox Church Hall in Lower Hutt, plenty of space for six sets in three rows. The decorations were all tartan, with banners, informative pictures of the clan tartans and tartan swags across the front of the stage. A huge ‘open book’ at the lower end of the hall displayed the night’s programme.

Lower Hutt Annual Dance Book Programme

On the stage as well as Aileen Logie, the band were Hilary Ferral (fiddle), Jason Morris (keyboard) and Terry Bradshaw (percussion). They provided glorious music for the whole night’s dancing, they must have been exhausted by the end.

Dancing to glorious music from Aileen, Hilary, Jason and Terry

The members of Lower Hutt Club made us visitors feel very welcome.

Everyone went well in spite of a programme with four of the total of seventeen dances marked with two stars for ‘only dance this one if you know it well’ and another three with one star for ‘find a good partner’.

Damon Collin MC’d the night with clarity as well as wit. For the last but one dance before supper he said that “the Weasley family in the Harry Potter stories were in the stonemasonry trade. Now we will dance The Weasley Pavers”. In spite of that, we all managed The Paisley Weavers.

St Bernard’s Waltz preceded a shift into the spacious foyer for supper. There was plenty of tea and coffee although we had been warned that the hot water boiler had failed, as well as the dishwasher. There was lots to eat as well and we all staggered back to the hall to work off our gluttony to Seton’s Ceilidh Band.

The night ended with The De’il Amang the Tailors followed by some music for stretching and easing sore muscles in a circle and the singing of Auld Lang Syne. We had enjoyed a wonderful night’s dancing, many thanks to Lower Hutt.

Your roving reporter had to miss dancing the vigorous and complicated Momentum in order to take some photos of the Johnsonville dancers. I have to admit I did not mind at all!

Johnsonville members were among those enjoying Momentum, an intricate dance

Robert Vale
8 September 2022

Photos: Robert Vale

Loralee Hyde: A lifetime of photography

Nearly 50 years of photographing Scottish Country Dancing

It wasn’t until I inherited thousands of photos and slides from my mother Tess Hyde after she died in 2018 that I fully realised where my love of photography came from.

In this treasure trove of photos, I discovered my mother had kept her own mother’s collection of dozens of photos of her family from the late 1890s onward. The first photo my grandmother had of my mother was taken in 1924 when she was just three weeks old.

Mum had told me she’d been given a Brownie box camera when she was in her early twenties. That  started a lifetime of recording family life and activities including birthdays, weddings and travels.

My father Jim Hyde was a keen photographer as well, capturing records of farming life in the 1930s on the family farm in Horahora, near Cambridge. Dad kept a diary in 1937 when he was aged 16, detailing life on the farm and his first year of paid farming work for a neighbour. His diary entry for 22 February says, “Mr Scarlett took me to town. I bought a camera for 9/3.” (9 shillings & 3 pence; around NZ$0.92).

In 1962 mum finally got a high quality camera which could take colour photos; a Zeiss purchased duty-free by her mother and step-father when they went to the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia. Right through the 1960s and early 1970s she took slides as they were cheaper to develop than colour film. In the late 1970s she changed to colour film when she and my father toured Britain and Europe.

An early start to my photography journey

1964 Off to the beach for a holiday (with my camera around my neck) with my sister Karen at the left. On the family farm near Cambridge. Photo scanned from a slide by Tess Hyde.
1963 One of my first photos. My mother (with her Zeiss camera around her neck), brother Morris and sister Karen on holiday at Mount Maunganui.

Mum passed her Brownie on to me in 1962 and that started me off on my photography journey, initially taking photos of our family activities.

The Brownie was old by then and didn’t produce great shots so I was thrilled to get a new camera for Christmas in 1962 (I can’t remember what type it was).

From that time on, I invariably had a camera around my neck at family celebrations and holidays.

Near the end of the 1960s, I got a Kodak Instamatic, a very popular camera with ‘magic flash cubes’ that clicked on to the top of the camera.

Early photos of dancing

By the mid-1970s I’d moved on to a Pentax Spotmatic, a 35mm single-lens reflex camera which I used for years.

My friend Christine (who now lives and dances in Rockingham south of Perth) introduced me to Scottish Country Dancing in Hamilton in 1974. I was hooked from the first evening. My sister Karen started dancing in Hamilton at much the same time.

1974 In the centre with my Pentax Spotmatic camera in Taranaki with Christine and Trisha, who both started Scottish Country Dancing at a very young age in Huntly. Photo: Karen Hunwick (nee Hyde)

I soon began taking photos of dancers and dancing. However, the flash on my Pentax Spotmatic wasn’t strong enough to take good photos of people actually dancing in the low-light conditions of many halls. So I generally stuck to photos of groups, particularly when dressed up for special occasions such as theme nights or ceilidhs.

1982 Enjoying the Down on the Farm theme at the Hamilton Queen’s Birthday Weekend School. I’m second from the left with my sister Karen at the right.

Enjoy more photos in this article ‘Dressed for the Part’ reflecting the fun we’ve had ‘dressing for the part’ from the 1970s to the present

Moving to Wellington

I moved to Wellington from Hamilton in 1983, initially taking up dancing at Lower Hutt Club before moving on to Ngaio and then Johnsonville. Some of the halls we danced at did have good lighting. Even with a limited flash, at times I managed to get reasonable photos of dancers taking to the floor.

Wellington Region Events in the 1990s Take a look at the fun and friendship of some of the Region’s events through the 1990s (including the names of all the tutors in the photo below).

Wellington Tutors at the 1993 Region Top Event
2000 Johnsonville ‘Black & White Annual’ Dance—with Kath Ledingham (Secretary 1991-1994) and Paula Binkhorst (President 2004-2006) (with long-term Linden tutor Ian Simmonds behind Paula). On the stage are musicians Peter Elmes and Merren Simmonds with MC Rod Downey.
2000 Johnsonville ‘Black & White Annual’ Dance—with the floor full of sets. Former Johnsonville Club member and tutor Margaret Bailey (now Allison) is on the left coming up the middle of the set. Her late husband John Bailey is in the couple behind. Former Johnsonville Club President Catherine MacAulay stands at the right of the top set. Johnsonville Club Tutor Rod Downey is at the left of the photo.

I spent 2003-2004 in Tanzania with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA); an amazing opportunity for wonderful wildlife and landscape photos. In 2004, I got my first digital camera, a Lumix DMC-FX1 which had a small zoom lens; great for capturing wild animals but not so good for photographing birds (which I was increasingly passionate about.) The size of the images was just 3 megapixels, compared to the 12 megapixel photos available on many mobile phones nowadays!

Although there wasn’t any Scottish Country Dancing available in Tanzania, I still had the opportunity to dance occasionally. Here I am dancing with Maasai women at a friend’s family celebration. I handed my camera to the driver who took us out to my friend’s home in the grasslands in northern Tanzania. He enjoyed taking some great shots!

2004 Dancing with Maasai women in northern Tanzania

A digital single-lens-reflex camera: A boon for better photographs

My photography of both dancing and birds took off when I got my first digital single-lens camera in 2008; a Panasonic Lumix with a small zoom lens. Being able to take clearer and close-up photos was a revelation.

As this camera produced higher-quality images of dancing, I recorded more and more events for Johnsonville Club along with other celebrations throughout the RSCDS Wellington Region.


Welcoming in the New Year with toe-tapping music and fine dancing at a Hogmanay is a special celebration for Scottish Country Dancers.

2008 Johnsonville dancers at Hogmanay at Onslow College – Désirée Patterson at the left, Kristin Downey with John Homes behind her, Joanne, Rod Downey and Selwyn
2010 Johnsonville Club hosted Hogmanay in Newlands Centennial Hall
2010 Hogmanay – Acting Region President Bernice Kelly, Piper Ross Edwards, MC Rod Downey & First Foot Chris Totton

See other Memories of celebrating Hogmanay in Wellington from 2006-2018 including more from the 2008 and 2010 celebrations above.

New Dancers’ Celebrations

New Dancers’ Celebrations welcome new dancers to the wider Scottish Country Dancing community, with experienced dancers attending in support.

In 2013, Johnsonville Club hosted this event at the Newlands Centennial Hall which was decorated with the newly produced club bunting along the walls.

2013 New Dancer’s Celebration. Johnsonville dancers Debbie, Lee and Shelley who helped at the bunting bee, are dancing in the top set

See my memories of New Dancers’ Celebrations since 2013 plus photos from Johnsonville Club archives

Tributes to those who have contributed to Scottish Country Dancing in Wellington

The archive of photos Johnsonville photographers have produced over the years provides a visual history of those who have made major contributions to dancing in the Region or who are no longer with us.

Click the links below to see more about some of these dancers and musicians:

2022 Kelburn’s Farewell Kelburn Club held its final dance on 19 June, closing after more than sixty years. John Gregory was presented with a Tribute from the Region to mark his enormous contribution to dancing.

2022 Barbara Kent: 30 years at Johnsonville Club

2021 Bernice Kelly, President of the RSCDS Wellington Region from 2005-2010

2019 Tribute to Maureen Robson A special Region dance on 7 December paid tribute to Maureen who retired after teaching Tawa Club for 38 years.

Peter Elmes with his button accordion

2018 A photo history of musician Peter Elmes and his band from 1990-2018

Peter Elmes played a special role in the musical history of Johnsonville Club

2018 Tribute to Peter Elmes On 24 November, a Region tribute dance marked Peter’s retirement from playing his beloved button accordion for Scottish Country Dancing.

2017 A Tribute to Betty Redfearn Betty was tutor at Kelburn for 46 years until her retirement in 2015.

The joy of special Scottish Country Dancing occasions

I got my current camera, a Nikon D7200, together with a great zoom lens in 2015. With this camera I can get wonderful shots of birds…as well as continuing to photograph special dancing events in the Region.

2021 Wellington Region 60th Anniversary Ball A fine dinner and dance to commemorate 60 years of the Wellington District Branch of the New Zealand Scottish Country Dance Society.

2021 Ngaio 50th Anniversary As a member of Ngaio Club from 1990-1992, I was thrilled the club asked me (along with John Patterson) to take photos at this celebration, another evening filled with the joy of fun and friendship.

John Patterson snapped me across the hall (again, with my camera around my neck) watching Doug Sinclair piping in the 50th Ngaio Anniversary cake carried by past President Margaret Pitt.

2018 NZ Branch 50th Anniversary Ball at Government House With swirling kilts and fabulous colours of the ballgowns, this evening proved a grand celebration with a welcome from The Governor General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy.

2018 The ‘official’ photographer at the RSCDS NZ Branch Ball. Photo: Bill Douglas

I also shared an article about a photographer’s view of the Branch 50th Ball—how the smiles of the dancers, their laughter and the fun had by all made photographing the event an enjoyable assignment.

2016 Johnsonville Club 50 Golden Years Celebration A significant occasion for our club.

See all about this grand event and the photos taken by me and fellow Johnsonville Club photographer John Patterson

2016 Johnsonville 50 Golden Years Celebration. I’m photographing a trio of Presidents cutting the 50th Anniversary cake – RSCDS Wellington Branch President Philippa Pointon, RSCDS New Zealand Branch President David Williamson and Johnsonville Club President Kristin Downey. Photo: John Patterson
2016 With a presentation from Johnsonville Club for the communications work I’d done for the 50 Golden Years Celebration – photography, design and developing the club website

2014 Wellington Region 1920s Ball An elegant evening of dancing in a beautifully decorated ballroom to celebrate the decade in which the RSCDS was formed.

To make sure I occasionally get a photo of me dancing, I sometimes hand my camera over to someone on the side-line, asking them to get some shots, like the one below.

2014 Region 1920s Ball. I am dancing with Johnsonville Club members John Homes and Rod and Kristin Downey.

2012 Wellington Region Diamond Jubilee Ball This Ball at Government House celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll. The Governor General Lt. Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine welcomed us and joined in some of the dancing. The smiles of the dancers, their laughter and the fun had by all made photographing the event an enjoyable activity.

Lady Janine and Sir Jerry Mateparae joined in the dance with RSCDS NZ Branch President Fiona Bullivant and Lesley Nicol. Current Johnsonville member and guest tutor Jeanette Watson is dancing in 4th man’s position in the set.

Continuing to make memories…

I’m still working hard to get good photos of birds. Although dancers move around, I’m more likely to anticipate where they’re going than for birds which flit around or simply fly off!

Photographing a wee toutouwai (North Island robin) at Zealandia Ecosanctuary in Wellington
Doug Mills, Nicole Trewavas, Andrew Oliver and Andrea Wells dancing a poussette in The Flower of Glasgow at the Wellington Region Hogmanay on 31 December 2021. New Zealand Scottish Country Dancer 2022, Volume 69.

There’s nothing quite like photographing the joy of Scottish Country Dancing; attempting to catch the moment dancers smile to their partner or across the set, and covering well. As shown in my photo on the cover of the New Zealand Scottish Country Dancer 2022, Volume 69.

My plan is to continue recording dancing celebrations and tributes, so we can easily reflect on the fun we’ve had and the friendships made.

Loralee Hyde
30 August 2022