Tartans, sporrans and bagpipes were the order of the day at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Turakina for the annual Kirkin' o the Tartan service.

About 50 people - many wearing their clan tartans - gathered at the church to celebrate their Scottish heritage.

Organiser Roz Grant said the service had been held in Turakina since 2012; but the tradition went back to the 18th century, when wearing of the kilt was banned in Scotland.

"At that time small pieces of tartan were brought to the church secretly to be blessed."


The Turakina area was rich in Scottish heritage, Mrs Grant said, and there were still Scots Gaelic speakers in the area until well into the 20th century.

"The service is a way of celebrating our Scottishness, and it brings people together," she said.

The church was decorated in tartan scarves, pipers opened the service and the afternoon tea afterwards included haggis.

The service was taken by Rev Alan Shaw from Palmerston North.

"We have people come from Levin and Palmerston North for the service - and today we even had a visitor from Auckland," Mrs Grant said.