Lower North Island RSCDS Centenary Ball


To celebrate the centenary of the RSCDS, The RSCDS Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Rangitikei Regions have combined to host a Tri-Region Ball in Palmerston North.

5.30pm, Saturday 4 November 2023

College Street School Hall, Palmerston North Click here for a map to the venue
Music by Balmoral Band – Anne-Marie Forsyth (Auckland), Sharlene Penman (Christchurch), Iain McKenzie (Queensland)

Click here to register online

Early bird registration by Tuesday 1 August
Final registration deadline Sunday 15 October
RSCDS $35 (early bird $30)
Adult $40 (early bird $35)
Juniors/Spectators $20 (No early bird rate)

As well as celebrating the centenary of the RSCDS, the Ball is celebrating the role of the ‘fertile crescent’ from Hawke’s Bay to Whanganui through to Wellington.

In many ways, these three regions were the birthplace of Scottish Country Dancing in New Zealand. For instance, the first three New Zealand Summer Schools were held in these three regions.

The Lower North Island RSCDS Centenary Ball will:

  • Feature an international band (The Balmoral Band)
  • Begin at 5.30pm so people have time to commute to the Ball and return to Wellington/Hawke’s Bay/Whanganui if they wish
  • Have a piped Grand March
  • Have a celebratory catered supper
  • Have a programme which features dances from Kiwi devisers, and well-known Society dances

Download the Lower North Island Centenary Ball Programme

Notes on the selected dances

Download some preliminary notes on the selected dances compiled by Rod Downey and Iain Boyd. They will be expanded upon as the year progresses, after consultation with people who are even more aware of the history of Scottish Country Dancing in New Zealand.

Instructions for dances that are not well-known

Download the instructions for these dances on the programme:

A Gift From Heaven (Norman Whitson)

Gary Morris (Alec Hay)

Mildred Clancey’s Strathspey (Jennie Miller)

Morison’s Bush (Ken Shaw)

Foreword to The Morison’s Bush Collection

Download a copy of the Foreword to The Morison’s Bush Collection. This gives a ‘potted history’ of the Wellington/Hawke’s Bay Association and of organised Scottish Country Dancing in New Zealand from 1953-1978.

Original Committee Members of the Wellington/Hawke’s Bay Association. Photo: The Morison’s Bush Collection

Bruce Fordyce (Back row, fourth from the left) devised the dance Seton’s Ceilidh Band which is on the Ball programme to commemorate Jack Seton (Front row, centre), who was the original President of the Wellington/Hawke’s Bay Association.

Loralee Hyde: 2014 Wellington Region 1920s Ball

Going back in time to the Roaring Twenties, groups of elegant dancers entered a beautifully decorated ballroom ready for an evening of dance and friendship: flappers in dresses decorated with beadwork, sequins or embroidery, feathers in their hair and long swirling strings of pearls; men in striped jackets, white trousers and boater hats or resplendent in black Prince Charlie jackets and kilts.

Wellington Region President at the time, Philippa Pointon, said the committee decided to have a 1920s ball to celebrate the decade in which the RSCDS was formed

Thanks so much to the committee of Melva Waite, Kath Ledingham, Eileen South and Philippa, who was also MC for the evening, for organising this grand affair on 5 July 2014.

The ‘1920s’ committee: Melva Waite, Kath Ledingham, Eileen South and Philippa Pointon

As dancers arrived, they were offered punch by three smartly dressed bartenders; Kevin Lethbridge, Pat Waite and Peter Warren.

Ready to serve the punch: Kevin Lethbridge, Pat Waite and Peter Warren

Everyone had the opportunity to pose in their finery in a gold photo booth, made especially for the purpose by John Gregory. Thanks to John for pulling together all the fantastic decorations for the evening, with the photo booth continuing to feature at formal occasions including the grand Johnsonville 50 Golden Years Celebration in 2016

Elegant Tawa dancers take their turn in the gold photo booth

Lively music from Aileen Logie, John Smith, Peter Elmes and Terry Bradshaw (with some sets containing 1920s tunes cleverly arranged by Peter), got toes tapping and dancers on to the floor throughout the evening.

MC Philippa Pointon with Aileen Logie, John Smith, Peter Elmes and Terry Bradshaw

Old favourites on the programme included The Sailor, Cadgers in Canongate and Sugar Candie. Dances published by the RSCDS in the 1920s were represented by Flowers of Edinburgh (Book 1, 1924) and Blue Bonnets (Book 3, 1926).

Enjoying the dance!

“A great night was had by all”, says Philippa. “I don’t think the Charleston had ever been played on an accordion before!”

Check out Loralee Hyde’s photos for more memories of a fabulous evening of fun and friendship with elegant costumes abounding and memorable dancing and music

Watch Pat Reesby’s video of Village Reel below

Loralee Hyde
January 2021