Times were looking a bit tough for Te Awamutu and District Highland Pipe Band earlier this year — but a new affordable home at Hairini Hall has set them back on their feet.

For a number of years the band rehearsed and stored gear at Te Awamutu Sports Club.

Following a club audit, the band was asked to either give up its autonomy and become part of the club or pay market rent for the use of facilities.

Neither option worked for the band, so they started looking for a new home.

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At first it wasn't promising — but a member suggested Hairini Hall and after an inspection and discussion with the hall committee a mutually beneficial agreement was reached.

The band performs for civic functions and events such as Anzac Day, Pirongia Craft Fair and Te Awamutu Christmas Parade. Photo / Dean Taylor
The band performs for civic functions and events such as Anzac Day, Pirongia Craft Fair and Te Awamutu Christmas Parade. Photo / Dean Taylor

Band secretary Verity Torrington says the rent is affordable and the committee is allowing the band to build its own storage room for the gear.

And the band is enjoying the hall, which meets all their needs.

Te Awamutu and District Highland Pipe Band rehearses every Monday night from 7.30pm.

They have a proud history stretching back 70 years from when they formed in 1949.

The band performs locally mostly for civic functions and events such as Anzac Day, Pirongia Craft Fair and Te Awamutu Christmas Parade.

They are also available for public and social events, such as playing for the Child Cancer Motorcycle Run this year.

Competitions also form a major part of the calendar.

This year the band aims to compete monthly from October in the build-up to the nationals in Invercargill in March, 2020.

Leading the band is Pipe Major Lance Torrington and he also tutors new players.

Lance was involved with the band in the late 1990s, then travelled for work.

He kept up his playing, joining City of Tauranga, Auckland and Districts, Waipu and Dargaville's West Highland Pipe Bands along the way.

He and Verity returned to the area about six years ago and they have been looking after the running of the band for three years.

Lance's father Jim has also had a long association and is stepping down this year as Drum Major.

Anyone keen on playing with the band, with or without experience, is welcome — contact Lance on 021 240 5275 or turn up to rehearsal any Monday night.