The haunting sound of the bagpipes could be heard at every turn throughout the day at Paeroa's Highland Games and Tattoo.

Pipers came from all over the North Island to enjoy a day of Scottish heritage and to participate in the poignant evening tattoo with a few hundred other pipers and drummers.

The spectacular tattoo was the culmination of the event — under the ''castle'' based on the Edinburgh Tattoo in Scotland — with massed bands featuring 250 pipers and drummers marching and performing Scottish favourites.

The event was held on Saturday and is in its 27th year.

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It did not disappoint and thousands came to celebrate.

Committee president Basil Morrison spent this week recovering from the 12-hour event having clocked up 18,000 steps on his Fitbit on the day.

He believes approximately 10,000 people went thought the gates making it among the top attended Highland games they've had.

''I was just delighted with the way it went. I take my hat off to the committee and all the parts they play. There must have been 120 volunteers and that includes schools, Rotary, Lions and individual volunteers.''

The event started at 9am with a full schedule of events.

Crowds were treated to a poignant opening ceremony in front of the grandstand — lead by the local band Pipes and Drums of Thames Valley — and opera singer Katie Trigg sang the New Zealand, Australian and Scottish anthems.

Highland dancing competitions were held, the Axemen's Chopping Carnival delighted crowds, there were Scottish country dancers, pipe band and solo drummer contests and strong men threw weights including the caber toss.

The Topp Twins, Saltire Duo and Brendan Dugan performed. Stalls lined the domain selling Scottish and clan heritage items.

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There was also the ode to the haggis, celtic singers, mace flourishing, fire performers, stilt walkers, clowns and Steampunk The Thames and children's entertainment.

Twenty-seven years ago the event started as a small pipe bands competition, which grew over the years.