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Join us at dancing in 2022

Scottish Country Dancing is a fun way to get fit and make new friends – all with toe-tapping Celtic music!

We welcome you to the Johnsonville Club Beginners’ Classes on 14, 21 & 28 February, 7.30pm-9.30pm on Monday nights at Khandallah Town Hall, 11 Ganges Road, Khandallah, Wellington.

Our classes suit all ages from teenagers and upwards.

First Class: Monday, 14 February

Doors open at 7.15pm. Come along then on the first night to register and be ready to dance at 7.30pm.

Our tutor Rod Downey will introduce the steps over the three weeks and you’ll be up and dancing during the first evening.

  • This is social dancing and we all dance together and help each other
  • No partner is needed – come by yourself or with a friend
  • Wear soft shoes and light comfortable clothing
  • Just $5 for each class – pay by cash at the door

FREE for 2021 Johnsonville Scottish Country Dance Club members

Covid requirements for Khandallah Town Hall

At Orange traffic light setting, Khandallah Town Hall is a ‘vaccinated premises’. Please have your ‘My Vaccine pass’ ready for scanning by a Johnsonville Club member.

We may also ask for verification, in the form of photo ID. So bring your drivers’ license, passport, or any other form of photo ID if you have some. Please also wear your mask and scan the NZ Covid Tracer QR/sign in on arrival.


To find out more, contact Robert on 021 163 9649 or email him or Rod/Kristin on 04 478 4948 or email them


Khandallah Town Hall, 11 Ganges Road, Khandallah, Wellington.

Isabelle and Maggie: New dancers in 2020

Isabelle and Maggie with Kristin Downey, President of Johnsonville Club

Two new dancers have kindly shared their experiences of being a new dancer at Johnsonville Club in 2020.

Find out more from Isabelle and Maggie about their first year of dancing


Download the Johnsonville Beginners Poster 2022

Click here for more about our club and Scottish Country Dancing

Wellington Region Hogmanay 2021

On a warm Wellington evening, dancers from around the Region (including a great contingent from Johnsonville) and from further afield welcomed in the New Year at the Wellington Region Hogmanay on 31 December in Lower Hutt.

Charles and Maura dancing the jig Ecclefechan Feline (this was Maura’s first ever Hogmanay!)

Thanks to Elaine and Michael Laidlaw and their team for organising this great social event after another challenging year with dancing constantly disrupted by Covid lockdowns and restrictions. There was a general feeling of relief that we could celebrate Hogmanay together when others around the world are, yet again, subject to restraints due to the latest Covid variant.

We welcomed RSCDS New Zealand Branch President Linda Glavin, Vice President Debbie Roxburgh with Paul, Communication and Publicity and Membership Coordinator Sue Lindsay and Youth Coordinator Nicole Trewavas. Others from outside the Region included Sue and Ian Pearson from Whanganui along with Doug Mills and Lynda Aitchison from Marlborough.

Thank you to MC Damon Collin for leading us through the dances during the evening—and for sharing points about some of the more unusual dance origins or names such as Ecclefechan Feline!

Robert and Liz leading down the middle while dancing Ecclefechan Feline

We danced the night away to lively music from the band led by Aileen Logie on the accordion with Jason Morris (keyboard), Hilary Ferral (fiddle) and Terry Bradshaw (drums).

Terry, Jason, Aileen and Hilary playing for the dance The Captain’s House

One toe-tapping tune that particularly appealed to the dancers was The Magic of Merrill (The Reel of Seven) played for The Amateur Epidemiologist which was devised by Wellingtonian Andrew Oliver. This dance is included in the Wellington Region Covid-19 Collection

Dancing The Amateur Epidemiologist with devisor Andrew Oliver in the set on the right setting to his second corner

Popular dances included Scott Meikle, The Water of Leith and Violynne (devised by Johnsonville tutor Rod Downey). The more experienced dancers took up the challenge of dancing The Flower of Glasgow and The Aviator.

Dancing The Flower of Glasgow – Liz and Pat at the left, Moira in the centre and Charles at the right
Désirée and Robert dancing The Flower of Glasgow
RSCDS NZ Branch President Linda Glavin with Debbie Roxburgh

A highlight of the evening was Linda Glavin presenting Debbie Roxburgh with a RSCDS New Zealand Branch Life Membership.

Congratulations Debbie for receiving this award—well-deserved after her many years of contributions to Scottish Country Dancing.

With Moggie Grayson (her 75th, congratulations Moggie) and Jason Morris having birthdays on the night, we celebrated with them by singing Happy Birthday to rousing music from the band.

Before midnight, Damon led a singalong of Scottish songs. Last year we’d moved to the 21st century with the words being projected on to a screen. Unfortunately, the hall’s projector had been stolen so we reverted to the old way of using printed copies!

The ceremony for welcoming in the New Year began with the Old Year and the Sweeper sweeping out the old year while we sang Auld Lang Syne.

The Old Year and the Sweeper sweeping out the year 2021

As President of the Wellington Region, Ann Oliver announced the arrival of the First Foot—the first person to come across the threshold in the new year, carrying gifts of coal for warmth, salt or money for wealth, shortbread for sustenance and whisky for good cheer.

Followed by piper Nicole Trewavas, First Foot Jason Morris walked a circuit around the hall before presenting the gifts to Ann.

Piper Nicole Trewavas and First Foot Jason Morris bearing gifts

The First Foot then raised a toast to the RSCDS Wellington Region and we welcomed in the new year of 2022.

Raising a toast to the Wellington Region – First Foot Jason Morris, Region President Ann Oliver, Piper Nicole Trewavas and MC Damon Collin

After wishing each other Happy New Year, it was time for dancers to tackle the final three popular dances—the Eightsome Reel, Culla Bay and De’il Amang the Tailors. A fitting start to a new year of dancing!

Loralee Hyde
2 January 2021

Loralee with Liz

See all of Loralee’s photos and download if you wish

Watch these videos from Pat Reesby
Ecclefechan Feline
Fair Donald
Yan Tan Tethera
New Year Ceremony

A chatty Christmas lunch to end 2021

As usual the club’s Christmas lunch was a relaxed and social affair, and Café Thyme made us very welcome. Seventeen club members were able to attend (up considerably on last year), and Aileen Logie also made time to join us, which was lovely.

Thanks to Liz H, Loralee and Pam, who came early to nab tables, and help café co-owner Jackie set us up with a long table layout that worked really well. People arrived at times that suited them, gradually filling all the places, with a bit of musical chairs as some left early.

The coffee was good, the food was great, and the company was (of course) excellent. It was really nice to have the opportunity to sit and chat, and get to find out more about who our fellow dancers are off the dance floor.

And it was good to have a range of people there, from first year dancer Pam and second year dancer Isabelle, through to long standing Johnsonville members from the 1980s, such as John H and John M. It was a delightful mix of membership, dancing, and life experience.

The big change this year was that Café Thyme is now a double-vaccinated venue, and we were all required to present our vaccine passes. It was quite a smooth process, with café staff scanning passes in the line, whenever a queue formed at the counter.

It is something we’ll be doing a lot of next year, as all our usual club venues will also require vaccine passes in 2022. That includes Khandallah Town Hall for club nights, Johnsonville Bowling Club for our Summer Ceilidh, and St John’s Church Hall for our mid-winter dinner and dance.

This will give reassurance to dancers who have not been comfortable to dance at Level 2, knowing that everyone on the dance floor is double vaccinated.

Click on the gallery below to see Loralee’s photos of this social occasion:

Commiserations to those club members who couldn’t join us as planned, hopefully they can make it next year. And who knows, we may one day get good enough weather to again sit outside in the sun, as shown in Loralee’s photos from the 2017 Christmas Lunch.

Kristin Downey
11 December 2021

Loralee Hyde: Cooking, eating … and dancing in Pitlochry

As part of the 2021 Wellington Region Archive Project Celebrating 60 years of dancing, I’ve perused old issues of Harbour City Happenings for stories about our people, events and history. In the May 2000 issue, I came upon an article I wrote about my time living in Scotland and the range of good food I helped to cook (and eat!)

Over 1979-1980, I worked as a ‘mother’s help’ for a family in a three-storeyed stone house dating from 1831 called Urrard, on a 2,500 acre estate of farmland and moor in Killiecrankie, a stunning area near Pitlochry in the Central Highlands of Scotland.

Urrard on 28 December 1979. Although snow was threatening on Christmas Day, It didn’t snow until Boxing Day. So we didn’t have a white Christmas!

On the east bank of the River Garry, a tributary of the River Tay, this was the site of the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689; the opening battle of the first Jacobite Rising in Scotland against the Government. The battle was a victory for the Jacobites, but with huge losses on both sides, including Viscount Dundee who raised the army of Jacobites. Claverhouse’s Stone at Urrard, is said to mark the spot where he died.

From my bedroom on the third floor, I looked down the Pass of Killiecrankie—beautiful in the spring with all the different colour greens in the woods, full of reds and oranges in autumn and stark in the winter with the bare limbs of the trees covered in snow and ice.

The Pass of Killiecrankie from high up on the Urrard farm in July 1979 – my attire suggests Scotland does have a summer!
The autumn colours of the Pass of Killiecrankie from my bedroom window in October 1979

The farm at Urrard was leased to a tenant farmer; Archie and his wife Ruth (a Scottish Country dancer) who had a house at the bottom of the steep drive up to Urrard. A gamekeeper, Alaistair, lived in a cottage on the estate, raising pheasants and ducks for annual shoots. His wife Isobel, who was Cordon Bleu trained, cooked delectable Scottish treats for us including mouth-watering shortbread, scones and oatcakes.

Below is a reproduction of my article from Harbour City Happenings about my working life at Urrard, including a recipe for oatcakes.

Simple but full of flavour

My job revolved around cooking and eating. Perhaps it’s the mind-sapping cold from the winds sweeping in from Siberia or just the age-old recipes that inspire the concentration on good food in that part of the world. A liking that has been transported to New Zealand as so many of us have Celtic blood in our heritage (my connection is to Clan MacMillan)

In summer, we had greens from the garden and watched the potato and barley crops growing in the fields. And then had masses of berries—raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. Raspberry fool just about every night for dessert!

Walking up the moor, gathering rowan berries from the trees to make jelly to go with venison from the estate. Cooking salmon, grouse, woodcocks, pigeons and ducks. Neeps in winter. Toffee and fudge at village fairs. Haggis and black pudding from the butcher in Pitlochry. At Hogmanay, visiting neighbours for black bun. And always, shortbread, shortbread, shortbread; baked three or four times a week and so perfect with a cup of tea. (Yes, I put on weight while I worked in Scotland!).

We had shooting parties of twenty-two during the season. The dining table had enough extensions to sit all. All morning, we’d cook soup, casseroles and baked potatoes on the Aga stove to be ready for the shooters after their time on the moor. Cheese, crackers and fruit finished the meal.

The dining table at Urrard set for a shooting party lunch in November 1979
Cooking soup on the Aga stove in the kitchen at Urrard in November 1979

Nothing really fancy for the whole time I was there, just simple but flavoursome food. Comfort food to get us through the cold but enjoyable as well to share with friends and neighbours. One of my favourites is oatcakes, lovely with cheese or other toppings. This recipe makes 25.


1 cup fine oatmeal
1 cup medium oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
60g lard (or equivalent), melted
1/2 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two oven trays with baking paper
Combine oatmeals, baking powder, salt and sugar
Make a well in the centre, add lard & water
Using a flat-bladed knife, mix to a firm dough
Turn onto a surface lightly sprinkled with fine oatmeal; press into a flattish square
Roll dough out to 30 x 30cm square (about 3mm thick), sprinkling with extra oatmeal if necessary
Cut into rounds or squares. Repeat with leftover dough.
Place oatcakes on trays about 5mm apart. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool on trays.

Originally published in Harbour City Happenings, Vol 3, No. 2 May 2000

More about my life in Pitlochry…including some dancing

The children in the family, aged 10 and 14, were away at boarding school except for holidays, when we did a lot of activities together such as going to the Highland Games in Kinloch Rannoch and Pitlochry and celebrating Christmas.

With Mary and Andrew on Christmas Day 1979. I knitted the Fair Isle cardigan from Shetland wool while I lived in Scotland and still have it!

After gathering produce from the garden and cooking in the morning, I worked in the family’s Malt Shop in Pitlochry, 6km south of Killiecrankie during the afternoons.

The road wound through stunning forest parks. With the sun setting at 2.30pm in the winter, it wasn’t quite as nice driving then. I had my first ever experience of driving in the dark in a snowstorm. Not pleasant. And the steep drive up to Urrard was often very icy. Much care was needed so I didn’t skid off the track into the woods!

At the Malt Shop we had a range of over 120 whiskies from distilleries all over Scotland. The small shop was extremely busy over the summer, with tourists (mainly from the USA, Europe and Japan) crowding in to buy their choice of whisky.

Ready for work in the Malt Shop in October 1979

Being an off-licence, we were unable to offer tastings. Occasionally at the end of the day, the staff would go to a local hotel and taste a few malts. My favourite was Talisker, a single malt from the Isle of Skye.

A staff tour of the Blair Athol Distillery just down the road from the shop gave us a great insight into the malt-making process. The source of water for the whisky is the Allt Dour—in Gaelic ‘the burn of the otter’ which flows through the distillery grounds.

The Malt Shop staff tour of Blair Athol Distillery in October 1979 – with Lena, Freddie, Lillian, Rayna and Sheila

During my time in Killiecrankie, I wrote long letters back home to my parents and my sister (Karen is also a Scottish Country Dancer and she worked in Pitlochry at the Green Park Hotel in 1977). My mother kept all the letters and they form a wonderful archive of memories.

In October 1979, I started dancing with a group in Pitlochry and usually got a lift there with Ruth as she lived nearby.

I’d left New Zealand in March 1978, so by October 1979, I hadn’t danced for nearly two years. On 16 October, I wrote home to my parents:

I went to Scottish Country Dancing on Thursday for the first time. After all the bad weather when I couldn’t go walking, it was great getting some exercise again. The club is quite small but everybody is very friendly. I haven’t forgotten how to dance! From next month there are regular Saturday night dances in one of the hotels in Pitlochry which will be good to go to.

On 24 December 1979, I wrote to Karen:

Last Saturday I went to a very good Scottish Country Dance in Scotlands Hotel with a Scottish Country Dance band playing. There was quite a big crowd (about eight sets). People come from miles around including Aberdeen. They don’t have any time between the dances so I got quite rather puffed and hot! Also they don’t brief the dances but luckily most of the dances they do are popular ones.

Heading up to the moor with Sheba on New Year’s Day 1980

Urrard is only a few kilometres from Blair Atholl Castle, the seat of the Duke of Atholl. On New Year’s Eve I was invited to a Hogmanay ceilidh in Killiecrankie, put on for the workers from the Atholl Estates.

We did some Scottish Country dances at the ceilidh including dancing Duke of Perth three times! I’ll always remember the wondrous sight of the snow-covered hills glistening in the moonlight when we left the hall after Hogmanay.

In mid-January 1980, I decided to return to the bright lights of London. On 14 January 1980, my letter home said:

On Thursday night I went to dancing for the last time which I was sorry about as I know everybody now and they’re all so friendly. They gave me a lovely pendant from Heathergems made in Pitlochry from varnished heather stems.

I didn’t take any photos of dancing in Pitlochry, as in those days I didn’t have a flash on my camera. However, in 1983, Ruth and Archie visited New Zealand and I had a wonderful catch-up with them. With Scottish Country Dancing, we make friends and connections around the world!

With Archie and Ruth from Killiecrankie in the Te Awamutu Rose Gardens, Easter 1983

Loralee Hyde
5 December 2021

Celebrating our Members: Tartan & Final Night 2021

The club’s Tartan and Final Night on Monday 29 November, was a lot of fun for the almost five sets of dancers who could be there on the night. With Rod at the helm, and the music of Airs and Graces, everyone danced their hearts out.

Lots of smiles from the members who could be there to celebrate our final night!

Good things are possible

As with many events these days, it was a celebration of the possible. Due to Covid restrictions, it was not possible to hold our Annual Dance, or our planned Saturday night end of year dance at Ngaio Town Hall. But it was possible to instead shift to Khandallah Town Hall, in our usual Monday slot.

We were very fortunate to have this option as a backup, and many thanks go to musicians Lynne Scott, Mary McDonald and Glenice Saunders who held themselves available for whichever date and venue became necessary. Live music adds so much to our Scottish Country Dancing experience, making our toes tap, and our spirits lift.

Music from Glenice, Mary and Lynne added to the celebration

Rod devised this year’s final night programme as a celebration of Johnsonville’s members, in recognition of their dedication, and their positive response to the many changes and disruptions this year.

Members have had to adjust to Khandallah Town Hall as our new club night venue, have bounced back from lockdowns, and also adapted to dancing again at Johnsonville Bowling Club for a period, when that was our only option. And we’re still smiling.

The programme

Dances on the programme included some from our original shared Annual Dance with Capital City, recognising the work of tutors Rod and Jeanette in putting the programme together, and teaching the dances to members of both clubs. (City of Wisteria was definitely one that we all worked very hard on learning.)

The full-length programme planned for a final night at Ngaio Town Hall on the Saturday, was necessarily shortened to accommodate dancing instead on Monday night at Khandallah Town Hall.

We retained the theme of Celebrating our Members, with six of the easier dances written for members on the final Monday programme (the first five devised by Rod):

  • Allison Kay (Allison is the current club treasurer)
  • The Durian Rant (for our Singaporean & Malaysian members – Prisilla Conroy, Moira Broughton, Nancy Tay, and now also Isabelle Joseph)
  • John Markham’s Rant (John is a current committee member, and one of only four members who’ve been dancing at Johnsonville since the 1980s)
  • Jeanette’s Hornpipe (Jeanette Watson is a Johnsonville member and relief tutor, and Capital City club tutor)
  • The Kitchen Faerie (Elizabeth Ngan is the club’s long-standing supper co-ordinator) 
  • At the End of the Rainbow (Loralee Hyde is a former club president, and current webmaster and photographer) devised by Iain Boyd, no link available.
Having fun while dancing the circles in The Durian Rant

The extras

We can dance with just an MC, a programme, and music. But all the extras really do make a difference, especially when they’re tartan!

Members were up and down ladders, the club’s tartan bunting was tacked up and (in a last-minute flash of inspiration) suspended from the balcony, and a Saltire and Lions Rampant made a colourful backdrop for the band.

Tartan rugs and programme posters decorated the walls, and swinging kilts and flying sashes, cheerful tartan ribbons, and plaid shirts and skirts enlivened the dance floor. Amongst them was the tartan ribbon that once belonged to Isla Norris, and is now worn by Mandy Clark, a lovely reminder of times and people past.

Our tartan tablecloths added that extra bit of celebratory colour at supper time, when we enjoyed our first shared supper since lockdown. The hall was buzzing, and the chance to socialise over good food, and a cup of tea meant supper became quite extended … and Den O’ Mains was dropped from the programme.


The end of the year is when we formally thank Rod as tutor, for all the hard work he puts in. Kristin as President, presented him with a card signed by club members, in appreciation of all he’s done to keep us dancing despite the year’s many difficulties.

On behalf of the Tuesday afternoon dancing group, Maureen presented the club with a box of Favourites chocolates in thanks for the loan of a Johnsonville Club coomber. As she said, this has saved the group from having to buy one of their own.

Thanks to all

The club continues to run smoothly due to the efforts of all our members, and final night was no exception.

Thanks to the set-up crew who swooped in to deck out the hall, set up the seating etc, to the supper team who were back in action, and to the pack-up team who returned the hall to order at the end of the night. Much appreciated.

Thanks also to the many visitors from other clubs who made the night more special, and nice to have Shelley from Hamilton as a repeat visitor.

It was a good night to finish what really was a good year, despite disruptions. And so ended our first year of dancing at Khandallah Town Hall.

Click on the gallery below to see all of Loralee’s photos

Click on the links below to watch Pat Reesby’s videos

Allison Kay 
Jeanette’s Hornpipe
The Durian Rant
The Kitchen Faerie

Kristin Downey
2 December 2021

Tartan Tablecloths: Five plus One

Having shared the story of the club’s tartan bunting, I feel honour bound to also tell the tale of the club’s tartan tablecloths.

Our tartan tablecloths form an appealing backdrop to Johnsonville’s delectable suppers – here at the 2018 October Tartan Night. Photo: John Patterson

The Five Originals

The club’s collection of five cheery, red tartan tablecloths has been around much longer than the tartan bunting.

Honorary Life Members Isla and Eric Norris (and their daughter Gaye) presented the tablecloths to the club as a donation in 1988, and they have been part of hospitality at club events ever since.

Eric and Isla had a long history with the club, first being recorded as members in 1968, and retiring from dancing in their 90s – their last recorded membership at Johnsonville was in 2003. For at least 20 years, Isla and Eric also served tea to club members at supper time. 

Club minutes from 21 June 1988 are full of decision making for celebrations of Johnsonville Club’s 25th Anniversary as a community group. (Previously dancers were part of the St Columba Presbyterian church Friendship Club).

In amongst confirming Peter Elmes as musician for the Special Club Night celebration on 27 June, and realising there would be no cake (!) as the club’s cake baker was going overseas, the minutes record:

Isla Norris has made up a set of table covers for use at dances, and she and Eric are presenting them to the club for its 25th Anniversary. A letter of thanks to be sent.

A correction at the next committee meeting on 26 July clarifies that:

The tablecloths were from all three Norrises, including Gaye.

The tablecloths would have made many an appearance in that year of celebration in 1988 – at the  (cake-less) Special Club Night on 27 June, the Annual Dance on 9 July, the Special S-themed Party Night on 3 October, and then the Final Night on 9 November.

Isla and Eric’s wish that the tablecloths be used at dances has been fulfilled many times over since 1988. As the photos below show, the tablecloths create a colourful and cheery presence at Tartan Nights, Annual Dances, Summer Ceilidhs, Midwinter Dinners and special events such as the club’s 50 Golden Years Celebration in 2016.

Kristin’s 50th in 2006 at a Johnsonville Club Night. Photo: Loralee Hyde (who also made the cake!)
Fruit salad in the ‘jewel bowls’ at the 2012 Annual Dance, with Elizabeth Ngan busy laying out the supper in the background. Photo: John Patterson
Laying out supper at the 2015 Johnsonville Annual Dance. Photo: Loralee Hyde
The tartan tablecloths add to the ‘brightness’ at the Club’s Bright Midwinter’s Night dinner in 2016. Photo: Loralee Hyde
Setting up the tartan bunting above the supper tables covered with tartan tablecloths at the Johnsonville 50 Golden Years Celebration in 2016. Photo: John Patterson
Tartan tablecloths on display at Johnsonville’s Dance Around the World dinner in 2019. Photo: John Patterson
Supper Co-ordinator Elizabeth Ngan laying out the supper at the 2019 Johnsonville/Capital City Annual Dance. Photo: Loralee Hyde
The last supper we had at Johnsonville School Hall at the 2019 Tartan & Final Night. Photo: Loralee Hyde

Plus One More

More recently another tablecloth has joined the collection. In 2016, her first year with the club as a new dancer, Liz Hands donated a blue and green tartan tablecloth, bringing numbers up to six – perfect for Midwinter Dinners. Originally bought for family dining at a refectory size table, Liz no longer had use for it when she downsized.

Aileen giving the ‘Address to a Haggis’ (with the haggis displayed on the sixth tartan cloth!) at the 2021 Johnsonville Summer Ceilidh. Photo: Désirée Patterson

Kristin Downey
25 November 2021

The Tale of the Tartan Bunting

In 2013, the club’s tartan bunting joined the club’s tartan tablecloths in being indispensable to any club occasion. The bunting transforms any hall from drab to festive, bringing colour and excitement to our events, photos, and videos.

Club members and guests enjoy the dance Texas Progressive Threesome at our 2020 summer ceilidh at the Johnsonville Bowling Club, with the bright tartan bunting to the fore!

How did the bunting come to be?

The first bunting bee

2013 was a bumper year for new dancers at Johnsonville, and it was also the club’s turn to organise the New Dancers’ Celebration. The bunting was the brainchild of new dancers Debbie Cooper and Lee Fraser, as a way to decorate Newlands Centennial Hall for that occasion, and for the club to use into the future.

Debbie took the lead, collecting unwanted tartan or plain fabric from club members, some of us scoured the op-shops for more, and Pete’s Emporium supplied the rest. The call was put out for pinking shears and volunteers, and many club members answered the call.

Pat Reesby held an open house, where people could come and wield the pinking shears to cut out triangular pennants, ready for the sewing team. Her diary from that time lists members Jean Denne, Joan Clayton, Kristin Downey  and Shirley Kalogeropoulos as potential pinkers.

Joan was also on the sewing team, together with new dancers Allison Kay, Deborah Shuker, Shelley Hancock, and Debbie and Lee. The bunting bee took place at Ngaio Tennis Club rooms, where Debbie and Lee were members. Deborah S remembers an ‘evening at Ngaio Tennis Club rooms (with) two machines at least and cutters, pinners and material guiders to the machinists’.

Members of the Johnsonville ‘bunting bee’ group who made the lovely club bunting in 2013 – Debbie, Deborah, Lee, Joan and Allison. Photo: Pat Reesby

The bunting is launched

On the afternoon of 19 October 2013, club members met to decorate Newlands Centennial Hall for the New Dancers’ Celebration. There were pot plants, tartan rugs, saltires, and tartan tablecloths on the supper tables, but the star of the show was the new tartan bunting.

The hall looked fantastic, and a great night was had by all. You can see the bunting in close-up at the start of Pat Reesby’s video of The Illabo Rant, as well as the happy crowd.

The bunting along the walls at the 2013 New Dancers’ Celebration. Debbie, Lee and Shelley who helped at the bunting bee, are dancing in the top set

We ended up with an unexpectedly large turnout on the night, as we agreed to host the medal presentation for juniors, with family members in attendance.

From then on the bunting became a standard feature of club events, next appearing at Kristin and Rod’s house for the club’s first ever Summer Ceilidh in February 2014.

At Johnsonville Club’s first summer ceilidh on 1 February 2014, John Markham gave a humorous recitation of the The Lion and Albert, with the bunting on display behind him.

The bunting made every Tartan night at Johnsonville School hall a special night, and added enormously to the atmosphere of every Annual Dance from 2014 onwards – see Pat’s video of The Robertson Rant from our 2014 Annual dance.

Volunteers setting-up the bunting at the 2019 Johnsonville & Capital City Shared Annual Dance at Ngaio Town Hall

More bunting is needed …

Fast forward to 2016, and the club’s celebration of 50 Golden Years of association with the worldwide network of RSCDS dancers. Karori Recreation Centre was chosen to accommodate what we hoped would be a big crowd of dancers, and the space was HUGE.

So of course, we needed more bunting! Club secretary John Munro rallied club members to the cause, beginning with the club newsletter of 12 April 2016:

‘Step forward for the Bunting bee. We’re aiming to have a full complement of tartan bunting ready to decorate the hall for our 50th anniversary dance in August. Didn’t it look great on Tartan Night!’

The next week he confirmed that:

‘The Queen Bee is summoning the workers for Thurs 19 May and/or Sat 21 May. On these days the ‘bunting co-ordinator’ Janet McFadden has Open House between 10am and 4pm for bunting construction. Prior donations of tartan/plaid/plain coloured fabric are extremely welcome.’

Then on 18 May:

‘Bring pinking shears if you have them and beaver away with a cheerful group. All participants will be members of the Illustrious Order of the Bunting Bee, which has been dignified with a fine dance devised by Rod Downey.’

Ready for 50 Golden Years

And finally on 25 May John reported:

‘Now we are well supplied with extra bunting to decorate Karori Recreation Centre for our big dance on 20 August. Many thanks to: Janet McFadden, Deborah Shuker, Liz Hands, Joan Clayton, Moira Scott, Prisilla Conroy, Kristin Downey.’

And so a generous expanse of bunting adorned our ‘big dance’, with around 150 dancers, a 5-piece band led by Peter Elmes, five pipers and a drummer from the City of Wellington Pipe Band, and a demonstration set from Newtown Juniors. What a spectacle it was, and how perfect to be surrounded by our tartan bunting.

The Club bunting made by volunteers from our membership formed a fine connection to our Scottish heritage at the Johnsonville 50 Golden Years celebration in 2016

Kristin Downey
18 November 2021

All photos by Loralee Hyde except where stated.

Note: The club also holds a small string of beautifully sewn and finished tartan bunting, donated by Lieschen Bayvel in 2016. As John Munro wrote:

It will be perfect to grace our midwinter dinner and our 50th celebration dinner. Lieschen Bayvel is a friend of Janet McFadden, both members of a longstanding quilting group. When Lieschen heard that Janet was looking to borrow pinking shears for the bunting bee, she went a whole lot better and donated some bunting already made up.

As you can see, her name is not very Scottish, but her recently deceased husband was Scottish and she thought it would be appropriate to donate the bunting to our Scottish Country Dancing club. Thank you Lieschen.

2021 Club Service Awards

To members in recognition of service

This year at the AGM the committee was pleased to recognise the work that often flies under the radar – that of hall setup and pack-up.

Most often, service awards go to those who hold a formal position in the club, or perform a service which is highly visible in some way.

This year, the committee chose to recognise the service of three members who fly under the radar.

None of these members holds a formal committee position, but each of them makes a regular and ongoing contribution to the club, with no fuss, no bother, no expectation of recognition, and a great attitude of service to our club community.

This year the committee took pleasure in recognising the contributions of the following club members, who have made substantial and ongoing commitments to the set-up and pack-up of the hall, before and after club nights.

Lizzie at the back right starts hall pack-up near the end of a club night in October 2021 while very experienced members enjoy dancing Peter Elmes’ Strathspey

Tomoko Burden

Tomoko has been with the club since 2013, when she and husband Charles, came along to the club’s beginners’ classes.

For many years now, Tomoko has been part of the team of people who stays till the end of every club night, to help pack up the hall – first at Johnsonville School Hall, then Johnsonville Bowling Club, and now at Khandallah Town Hall.

This is not a formally appointed team, it’s not rostered, it’s made up of people who see the need and step in. From 2017-2019 there were also formally rostered teams of volunteers to cover pack-up (when Rod and I were overseas for extended periods), and Tomoko’s name was always on the list.

Tomoko works quietly in the background, always looking out for what needs doing, helping out when she can, ensuring there are plenty of hands to share the work of packing up. Thank you Tomoko, your practical support for the club over many years is very much appreciated.

Wendy Donald

Wendy already had a long history as a Scottish Country dancer when she joined the club in 2019. She was so keen to dance with us, that she joined in the fun at the Summer Ceilidh before the dancing year started.

Wendy is one of the dancers who has danced at three different club venues since she joined, and has always been an early bird, arriving before dancing begins. Soon after joining us in 2019 for her first year at Johnsonville School hall, Wendy was asking what she could do to help with hall set-up, and so she began.

With the move to Johnsonville Bowling Club, helping with set-up translated into a lot of furniture moving! Wendy (working with fellow early-bird Robert Vale), moved countless chairs and tables on and off the dance floor during our 2020 year of dancing at the Bowling Club, and again this year when we returned there to dance during Level 2.

Wendy has continued to arrive early and help with hall set-up at Khandallah Town Hall, doing whatever needs doing, working alongside committee members who also arrive early. Thank you Wendy, the willing work you put in makes a big difference, and we appreciate it.

Lizzie Tan

Lizzie is the most recent club member to be recognised this year, joining the club following beginners’ classes at the Bowling Club in 2020. She is an enthusiastic dancer, and has joined fully in the life of the club from the beginning, attending classes, and bringing her husband PK along to social events.

Despite all the interruptions to dancing over the last two years, Lizzie has kept on coming back, and from early on has stayed to watch the more experienced dancers in the latter part of the night.

Seeing the need, Lizzie became part of the furniture-moving crew at the Bowling Club, starting to pack up while the very experienced enjoyed the final dance of the night. She has continued helping with pack-up at Khandallah Town Hall, staying till the very end to help carry out bags to the car, before heading home herself.

While Lizzie is not the member who travels the farthest to be with us, she does have a fair distance to drive home to Porirua – more so since we moved from Johnsonville to Khandallah. But she still stays on till the end, bringing her enthusiasm to the task. Thank you Lizzie.

Photos: Loralee Hyde

A Night of Halloween Spirit 2021

Another fine night we made for ourselves, at our first Halloween/Samhain celebration at Khandallah Town Hall.

It was wonderful to see the hall full of dancers, with more than four sets of members, plus past member Pat Reesby, who can never resist the opportunity to dance Ferla Mor.

Members really entered into the spirit of Halloween with many a witch and cloak to be seen, black and pumpkin-coloured outfits galore, cobweb adornments, creative goodie-bag costumes and Anne Mackenzie came resplendent in a fantastic tartan, winged outfit, complete with half-face paint.

Our revellers certainly entered into the spirit of Halloween/Samhain!

The dancing was also spirited, and a laugh a minute. Thanks to our devilish MC Rod, for giving us such a good time, despite that ‘Australian accent’ we blamed for any confusion we may (or may not) have experienced! My lips are sealed.

Rod the ‘devil’ dancing the ‘dishwasher progression’ in The Kitchen Faerie

We started with two of Rod’s dances—The Kitchen Faerie, written for our supper co-ordinator Elizabeth Ngan, followed by a revised version of Maggie Boag’s Jig, written as a farewell gift for Maggie as she leaves us to return to Scotland.

The Kitchen Faerie, Elizabeth Ngan!
Maggie at the right dancing Maggie Boag’s Jig

Then it was on to old favourites, Slytherin’ House, and The Scottish Werewolf, with the challenge of The Fairy Dance sandwiched between. The Devil’s Quandary kept us on our toes, and we finished with Ferla Mor and its ghostly music.

Thanks to those who stepped in and helped put up Halloween decorations, especially Anne Mackenzie—our beautifully costumed ladder woman who was first on the scene. On one side we had our ‘Welcome to Halloween’ banner, and on the other – a skeleton set on high, flanked by spiders, bats, pumpkins and ghouls, with spidery webs all around. A bit of decoration always adds that extra touch to any celebration, definitely worth the effort of putting them up (and then taking them down again – thanks to the packer-uppers).

No colourful, festive supper this year due to Covid restrictions, but there were some leftover Halloween trick or treat choccies on offer.

View costumes and smiling faces in a selection of fantastic photos from our witchy-photographer Loralee Hyde, and in videos of Rod’s dances The Kitchen Faerie and Maggie Boag’s Jig from roving videographer Pat Reesby. See if you can work out which witch is which.

Click on the gallery below to see all of Loralee’s photos

PS We’ve also done our bit to spread the word a little wider to the Pilates group departing the hall, that Halloween originated in the Celtic world, not in the US!

Kristin Downey
3 November 2021

Sharing the fun of dancing in the community

Johnsonville Club members are often out and about in the community—sharing the fun and friendship of Scottish Country Dancing. In the past, this has included taking part in demonstrations as part of groups who danced in at retirement homes or in schools, or through current members participating in a variety of community events.

The first photos I took of members’ participation in the community was in 1998 when a group of new dancers from that year, including Kristin and Rod Downey’s children, Carlton and Alex, danced in a demonstration at the Newlands Baptist Church.

Carlton dancing with Joan and Tamara, with Rod and musician Peter Elmes at the back left corner. Photo: Loralee Hyde
Adeline, Alex, Mabel and Margaret dancing at the front of the set. Photo: Loralee Hyde

More recently, our archive of historical photos taken by various members, brings back memories of those who used to dance with us at Johnsonville, as well as providing a record of those who dance with us now.

When former club member Pat Reesby’s grandchildren were at Ngaio School, a group of dancers from various clubs enjoyed showing the joy of dancing to the students, with some of them joining in!

Pat Reesby, Elizabeth Ngan and Désirée Patterson from Johnsonville Club danced with children at Ngaio School in 2014. Photo supplied by Pat.
Johnsonville members who took part in a demonstration at Ngaio School in 2016 included Désirée Patterson and Elizabeth Ngan in the centre and Pat Reesby at the right. Photo supplied by Pat.

World Rugby Sevens Parades

When the World Rugby Sevens teams used to play in Wellington, the associated street parades provided a wonderful opportunity for dancers from around the Wellington Region to support the Scottish team and join in the fun of these popular parades.

In the Johnsonville Club newsletter on 12 February 2014, Secretary Pat Reesby wrote:

“Jean Denne, John Munro, Désirée Patterson and I all took part in the Sevens parade last Wednesday. We led the Scottish team, and John Patterson took a photo of us with them (see photo below).

“Others in the photo are Elaine Lethbridge and Mary and Duncan Macdonald. Iain Boyd is holding the RSCDS Wellington Region banner on the left, and Allan Forsyth (from the Association of Scots Societies) the one on the right.”

The group of Region dancers supporting the Scottish team in 2014. Photo: John Patterson
Désirée Patterson and former Club Secretary John Munro just behind the drummer in the 2014 World Rugby Sevens parade. Photo: 111 Emergency

In 2015, members of Johnsonville, Tawa, Kelburn, and Island Bay Clubs took part in the parade.

The 2015 Sevens parade with Todd Foster carrying the flag of Scotland, with Kristin behind the wee chap. Photo: Loralee Hyde
At the right: Kristin, Deborah Shuker and Rowena. Photo: Loralee Hyde
Johnsonville members in the group of Region dancers in 2015 who paraded in support of the Scottish team,  included Désirée Patterson, Jennifer Timmings, Deborah Shuker, Kristin Downey, Jean Denne and Todd Foster. Photo: John Patterson

Through our Johnsonville Club website, we now have easy access to details about our more recent participation in community events.

Fun at Newlands Marae: 2015

The club took part in Neighbours’ Day 2015 at the Newlands Marae, Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi, sharing the experience of dancing with audience members.

Johnsonville dancers in tartan added to the colour of Neighbours Day 2015, and encouraged audience members to join in in some fun, easy dances. Photo: Pat Reesby

See more about Neighbours’ Day 2015

A visit to Karori Brownies: 2018

A further community event involving children was a visit to Karori Brownies in 2018. It all came about when the Brownie leader spotted a Johnsonville Club Beginners’ Poster in a shop window in Karori and got in touch with us.

Rod teaching The Kingston Flyer to the Brownies. Photo: Pat Reesby

Find out more about our visit to Karori Brownies

Pipes in the Park: 2021

Held in brilliant Wellington weather at Waitangi Park in February, Pipes in the Park was a day of piping, highland dancing, Irish dancing, clan and food stalls – and of course some Scottish Country Dancing.

Scottish Country Dancing at Pipes in the Park 2021 with Johnsonville member and tutor Jeanette Watson at the left. Photo: Maddy Schafer

Let’s look forward to more fun and laughter of dancing at community events in the future!

Loralee Hyde
27 October 2021