‘He Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune:’ The Role of Organisations in Constructing, Developing and Maintaining Scottish Highland Bagpipe Culture in Otago, New Zealand

Daniel Milosavljevic, Henry Johnson


As a distinct symbol of Scottish cultural heritage and identity, this paper argues that the Scottish Highland bagpipe is of major historical significance to the Otago region, and shows that a number of influential cultural organisations helped establish and maintain its subcultural existence. An historical study of such overarching organisations reveals that they hold a particularly important place in nurturing an underpinning social dimension of this aspect of Otago’s and New Zealand’s Scottish cultural heritage. A mixed methods approach employing historical and ethnographic research has uncovered how these organisations helped shape Scottish Highland piping within Otago. This article also identifies how some key organisations connected with piping have helped shape the performance of the instrument and its associated culture. Otago has had a strong connection with Scottish settlement and piping since the mid 19th century, and the historical records of piping in Otago make it a particularly relevant historical case study. As piping is arguably a musical culture that relies on contextual performances within the community for it to survive, the role of organisations needs to be understood.


piping, organisations, Otago

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol9iss2id216