Kilts, haggis and poetry to celebrate Burns

A celebration of poet Robbie Burns

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 18/01/2013
 Dave Smith and his Scottish cronies will be painting the town blue on Burns Night
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ
BRAVE HEART: Dave Smith and his Scottish cronies will be painting the town blue on Burns Night.

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A night of Scottish heritage and revelry will descend on the Plymouth International tomorrow.

Around 150 people will gather to honour the traditional Scottish Burns Night, a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns.

Organiser Dave Smith said the event was not exclusive to those with Scottish blood.

"We're hoping for a lot of Kiwis, or just whoever.

"It's a celebration of Scottish history and heritage, we want to share that with anyone who wants to be part of it."

The evening will include a three-course Burns supper, poetry, Scottish dancing and the traditional piped-in haggis.

Not just any old haggis either.

"The haggis is a special recipe from the Scottish mafia in New Plymouth," co-organiser Katie Mackenzie said.

"It's a really good haggis," Mr Smith agreed.

There would also be performances by local highland dancing champion Morgan Bamford, pipes played by Jim Shepherd, and former manager of Puke Ariki Bill Macnaught was travelling from Wellington to act as MC.

Smith said that, despite a strong focus on the traditional, the atmosphere would be relaxed and social. "The accents tend to relax a bit and our Kiwi friends are going, ‘What?' "

He said many New Zealanders had either been to Scotland or had some Scottish ancestry and could relate to the customs.

He said the $95 ticket price would cover all expenses of the event, with any remaining money to be donated to the City of New Plymouth Caledonian Pipe Band.

When asked about the rumoured tradition of men forgoing underwear under their kilts, Smith said he could neither confirm nor deny that the custom would be observed.

"All I can say is I've been slapped more than a few times by my mother."

Tickets are for sale at Peggy Gordon's Celtic Bar.

WHO WAS ROBBIE BURNS?

Born January 25, 1759, in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland.

He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide.

Widely known for his poem and song Auld Lang Syne which is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year).

Burns Night is celebrated on Burns' birthday, January 25, with Burns suppers around the world.

There are memorials to Robbie Burns erected in Dunedin, Hokitika, Timaru and Auckland.

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