Highland Games secure council cash

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012
Tom Shiels
JESS ETHERIDGE/ Fairfax NZ
GUTS-FULL: Tom Shiels was frustrated with Auckland Council's decision to cut funding for the annual Highland Games, which have been running since 1921.

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Auckland Council has backed down after initially refusing to fund this year's Highland Games by granting $8000 to the event.

Scotsman Tom Shiels, from Beach Haven, was left ''flabbergasted'' after the council told organisers on Tuesday that the 91-year-old event would not receive a cent of funding.

But yesterday Shiels was told of the council's change of heart.

Auckland Council representatives will meet with organisers following the event and will help with next year's funding application process, spokesman Glyn Walters said.

Shiels said $95 of the funding would cover the haggis - something he was personally very pleased with.

The Scotsman, who claimed the decision not to fund the event was "racist", was also pleased with the decision and is looking forward to organising next year's event.

The games, held in Three Kings Reserve, celebrate Scottish history and competition and have been held since 1921.

More than 10,000 people attend from around New Zealand and the world, Shiels said. The Games include the caber toss, stalls and traditional Scottish and Celtic performances.

For 15 years the council has funded the event in some capacity, Shiels added.

He said other Auckland cultural events such as Diwali and the Chinese Lantern Festival receive funding from the council.

''We just want the same consideration. The super-city is a joke,'' said earlier this week.

The Highland Games used to be run on a profit through admission sales until the council decided to get involved, he said.

The committee applied through the council's community group assistance fund.

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