PNG rekindles piping links with Australia

The Papua New Guinea Pipe Band Association has been granted provisional affiliate membership of Pipe Bands Australia under a new partnership to support and encourage engagement between the two nations.

There are currently five pipe bands in PNG - PNG Pipes and Drums and Port Moresby City Pipe & Drums which are civilian pipe bands, two from the Defence Force and one from the Correctional Institutional Services. Members will be able to participate in Pipe Bands Australia activities including training and examinations of the Australian Pipe Band College.

Pipe Bands Australia and the PNG Pipe Band Association will enter into a partnership promoting the pipe band movement in both countries and canvas holding events such as a pipe band festival or the mini-military tattoo and an exchange program where bands can perform together at important national events in both countries.

Pipe Bands Australia and the PNG Association will enter discussions to explore PNG becoming a branch of Pipe Bands Australia with full voting rights.

PNG Association president Ilaita TK Gigimat said: “One of the main objectives of the PNG Pipe Band Association is to encourage the communities and provinces to form their own bands.

“The opportunities available through Pipe Bands Australia will assist our players to develop and build the number of bands that we have. I have already had discussions with Australia’s Principal of Piping Brett Tidswell who has been most helpful with his advice and guidance.”

Gigimat highlighted the historical connection with regards to Scottish Piping Music which was established during the colonial administration that laid a strong foundation for this partnership. “PNG Pipe Band Association’s partnership with Pipe Bands Australia rekindles the historical connection between PNG and Australia of the pipes and drums (Scottish Piping Music) to PNG.”

“It is not new and dates back to 1951 when the Australian Regular Army brought in Pipe Major Lewis MacLennan from Perth, to begin raising and training a pipe band for the First Battalion of the Pacific Islands Regiment (PIR) based at Taurama Barracks outside of Port Moresby. In 1965 the Second Battalion of the Pacific Islands Regiment was formed at Moem Barracks near Wewak in the Momase region. The nucleus of another band was formed from pipers and drummers of the First Battalion.

“In the 1960s leading up to nationhood, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea had a proud history of the Regimental Pipes and Drums of the First and Second Battalion with the average strength of 40 pipers and drummers which became very famous amongst the people of Papua New Guinea. Since the early years over 3000 pipers and drummers have been trained. The bagpipes carry the tartans of Clan Cameron. “

Pipe Bands Australia president Chris Earl said: “Australia as a nation has had strong links with Papua New Guinea for many decades and that has continued since the country gained independence in 1975.

“National management committee is delighted to grant interim affiliate membership ahead of further discussions at our national conference this year and we look forward to working with Gigimat and his team in developing new opportunities for our respective bands to share in the advancement of piping and drumming through this new partnership.”


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