Oban and Braemar Gold Medallist Richard Hawke is to step down from his position as Pipe Major of New Zealand’s successful Canterbury Caledonia Pipe Band. Despite this change the band is still scheduled to play at the Worlds next August.
The above picture shows Richard on the day he won his Highland Society of London Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in 2007 whilst in the background is a shot from the band’s latest success in NZ.
In a statement, Band Chairman Richard Smith said: ‘Current New Zealand Grade 1 Champion Pipe Band, Canterbury Caledonian Society, has announced some key leadership role changes to take effect after the upcoming New Zealand Pipe Band Championships in March 2017….Pipe Major Richard Hawke announced that after the March Nationals, he and Drum Sergeant James Laughlin will step down from their current roles, however will remain involved with the band in mentor and advisor capacities working with the new leadership team.
‘Hawke will continue to play with the band, while Laughlin is shifting his focus to his young family, expanding his business interests further and continuing his extensive local and international tuition programme. Both will continue their Piping and Drumming Director roles with St Andrew’s College Pipe Band in Christchurch.’
Richard said: ‘James and I have been considering the future growth and success of the band which has included succession planning. We both feel the time is absolutely right to start that process. The band has experienced incredible success and we are extremely proud of our competition success, which has seen the band remain undefeated in New Zealand Grade 1 competition over the last 5½ years. The band is in extremely good heart with many talented members who already contribute greatly to the band’s success. A major factor in the success of the band has been our teaching programme at St Andrew’s College, which provides a steady flow of young, talented members. We feel that the opportunity is here to support, develop and mentor new leaders. Our preference is that the band will be promoting from within”.
Richard Smith added: ‘What the band has achieved to date under Richard and James’ leadership over eight years is amazing – five consecutive National Championships, five Drumming Championships and two top ten placings at the World Pipe Band Championships. Rather than stepping aside when the band is in decline, these guys want to ensure the momentum continues and see this as a great opportunity for the next leaders to build on what the band has achieved to date. Hence they want to stay involved with the band and ensure the continuing success of the band is part of their legacy to the Society.’
Canterbury Caledonian Society appoints its band’s pipe major and Richard Smith said that process would be finalised in the next couple of months in advance of the National contest. He added: ‘At this stage the band is still scheduled to travel to Scotland in August 2017 to compete at the World Pipe Band Championships and the final decision on that trip will be made in late January/early February when the new leadership team is finalised.’