Thomas Bywater looks ahead to the historic events and anniversaries to celebrate in March
More concerts than you can shake a baton at
On March 6, 1947, 65 musicians took to the stage in Wellington Town Hall. Conductor Andersen Tyrer blasted the attentive audience with a programme of Brahms, Wagner and Dvorak's New World Symphony.
As the country's first permanent national orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra have been making music ever since.
March marks 75 years of the musicians and - despite some disruption - the celebrations will not be a low-key event.
Unfortunately, under current Covid settings, the NZSO has had to fiddle the schedule.
The Jubilee celebration in Wellington has had to be postponed, along with opera in te reo Māori, Hihī, which was due to be performed at the Te Tairāwhiti arts festival.
The show will go on, says NZSO, and Jubilee will be held later this year in full. Music to our ears.
One to put in your diary, concert Celebration will be held in New Plymouth on June 15 and Palmerston North on June 18, featuring that NZSO favourite Dvorak Symphony, No. 9.
A series of free live events and on-demand recordings will also be held via the website live.nzso.co.nz
The day the Scots arrived in Ōtāgo
Ōtāgo without the Scots would be like a Tunnock teacake without the filling.
It has been almost 175 years since thistles, whisky and an appreciation for plaid first arrived in Port Chalmers.
The landing of the ship John Wickliffe on March 23, 1848, is seen as the founding day of the province. It was followed three days later by the Philip Laing and many of Dunedin's Scots forebears arrived in these ships. This includes the nephew of poet Robert Burns, the Reverend Thomas Burns.
Of course, the Edinburgh of the South wouldn't bear any likeness to "Auld Reekie" until the gold rush arrived in the late 1800s.
Claggy earth and lack of building materials would lead to it being called "Mud-Edin" by the Scots who had just travelled about as far as you can go by sailing ship.
For a better feeling of life on the peninsula or to experience six months on a leaky boat, the Toitū Ōtāgo Settlers Museum has permanent exhibitions on the city's early history. Or gawp at the 100-plus faces in the Smith Gallery, New Zealand's uniquely purple portrait display. Exhibitions and events are detailed at toituosm.com
For a more modern taste of Ōtāgo's Scottish connection, you could visit Bracken. It's run by Scots expats Jacqueline and David Burt, who offer such hebridean highlights as haggis ravioli and oatmeal brie with Cumberland sauce. Phone for bookings on 03 477 9779 or go to brackenrestaurant.co.nz
For more travel inspiration, go to newzealand.com/nz.
Check traffic light settings and Ministry of Health advice before travel at covid19.govt.nz