2003: A Celebratory Weekend!

Wellington-Hawke’s Bay Association 50th Anniversary Ball

in conjunction with

Wellington Region Weekend School: 25-27 April 2003

Formed in 1953, the Wellington-Hawke’s Bay Association was the first Scottish Country Dancing association in New Zealand. This association later morphed into the RSCDS New Zealand Branch

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

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wellington-Hawke’s Bay Association, dancers from around the country enjoyed an Anniversary Ball on Saturday 26 April 2003 in conjunction with a Wellington Region Anzac Weekend School at Onslow College.

With Carol Smith as convener (centre in the image below), the weekend school was promoted as:

The Place To Be in April 2003

Highlights of the 50th Anniversary Ball

  • A programme of well-known dances for all to enjoy
  • 24 sets on the floor
  • Music from Peter Elmes((Tributes to Peter Elmes following his retirement from playing his accordion for 60 years in Wellington Region and throughout New Zealand, Harbour City Happenings, Volume 21 No. 3, December 2018)), Lynne Scott and John Smith
  • Floor show prepared by Ian Simmonds((Ian Simmonds retires after 52 years of teaching Linden Club, Harbour City Happenings, Volume 14, No. 2, July 2011))
The 50th Anniversary Ball Programme: Well-known dances for all to enjoy

Download the 50th Anniversary Ball Programme

Below is a piece about the 50th Anniversary Ball by Carol Smith, extracted from her article on the Wellington Region Anzac Weekend School published in Harbour City Happenings Vol 6, No. 3 July 2003, p4-5, with accompanying photos (photographer unknown).

“The Saturday evening function at Onslow College, the Anniversary Ball celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wellington-Hawke’s Bay Association, was a superb night and it was a wonderful sight to see 24 sets on the floor with so little room between sets. Perhaps a little tight for dancing, but it gave a great atmosphere.”

“From the Grand March to the last dance the hall seemed to be buzzing and although a formal night was also great fun.

It was nice to be able to welcome the NZ Branch President Jenny Kuttel, the Region President Chris Kelly, along with many other Branch and Region executive members and make a special welcome to Bruce and Mary Fordyce. Bruce being the only member of the original Wellington-Hawke’s Bay committee still dancing.

The floor show prepared by Ian Simmonds was great entertainment and it was a delight to see a set of dancers enjoying themselves so much. Thank you Ian and the team for a great effort.

Peter Elmes, Lynne Scott and John Smith provided great music and it just seemed that the dancers and the band sparked off each other, responding to each others enthusiasm.

Janice Henson provided a lovely cake celebrating the 50th Anniversary. All in all a great night.”

The cutting of the cake was shared by Bruce Fordyce (one of the original committee members of the Wellington-Hawkes Bay Association), Peg Hutchison((Peg Hutchison Wellington Region President for four years in the 1970s; RSCDS New Zealand Branch President 1985-1986; RSCDS New Zealand Branch Life Member 1998)) and Gary Morris((Gary Morris Extract from Sociable Carefree Delightful A History of Scottish Country Dancing in New Zealand 1995 p150-151)) (long-time Region tutor and RSCDS examiner).

Lynne Scott, John Smith and Peter Elmes from the band are on the stage behind the group cutting the cake.

Highlights of the Anzac Weekend School: 25-27 April 2003

A digital copy of the 2003 Wellington Region Weekend School Brochure. Original printed brochure kindly supplied by Margaret Bailey-Allison

Download the 2003 Wellington Region Weekend School Brochure

Six Classes and Teachers

  • Advanced Senior/Social: Pam Perkins, Opotiki
  • Advanced Technique: Ester McKay, Auckland
  • Intermediate Technique: Yvonne Gray, Auckland
  • Intermediate/Elementary: Philippa Pointon, Wellington (Johnsonville Club President at the time)
  • New Dancers: Maureen Robson, Wellington
  • JAMS: Melva Waite, Wellington


  • Special Guest Musician: Jennifer Foong, Sydney
  • Other Class Musicians: Merren Simmonds, Peter Elmes, John Smith, Gary and June Stratton
  • Fiddlers Class: Guest Teacher Cathy Fraser, Australia

Read about the fun of the dancing and social activities at the April 2003 Wellington Region Weekend School in this review by Ellen Bracefield (‘a weekend school novice’), Harbour City Happenings Vol 6, No. 2 May 2003, p3.

A weekend to remember!

Thank you to all those who contributed to the success of this celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wellington-Hawke’s Bay Association and the Region Anzac Weekend School, particularly Convener Carol Smith and her committee of Eileen South, Shirley Kalogeropoulos, Ian Taylforth and John Gregory.

As Ellen said in her review of this celebration, “Anzac Weekend School in Wellington was the place to be in April 2003”.

Loralee Hyde
26 July 2023