A Description of the Highland Heavyweight events:
Highland Stone: A 22lb stone is thrown in the manner of a shot put
16lb Hammer: A 16lb weight on a long cane handle is swung about the head of the competitor and thrown. Some extraordinary distances are achieved in this spectacular event.
56lb Weight for distance: This is a difficult event even for the big guys. The 56lb weight is swung around the body and released with kilts a-flying.
Tossing the Caber: The quintessential Highland event that is a crowd favourite. An 18ft 6in (5.6mt) pole is lifted on end and thrown. It needs to be turned end for end at a perfect 12 o’clock for the best score.
28lb Weight for Distance: Half the weight of the 56lb event so much more spectacular throws
22lb Hammer: Like it’s little brother the 16lb weight, it is thrown for greatest distance.
Tossing the sheaf: Another crowd pleaser. The big men use a pitchfork to toss a 12lb sheaf over the high bar. The NZ record height for this event is 37 ft 6 inches (11.5mt)
56lb Weight for Height: This in one of the toughest events and involves tossing the 56lb weight over a horizontal bar using just one hand.
Farmers Walk: A 160lb weight is carried in each hand (that is 145 kgs in total) and the competitor walks as far as possible till he drops the weights. Another great event where the crowd gets behind and encourages from the side lines. Spectators are welcome to have a go too.
The idea of holding an annual NZ championship event evolved in the early 1990's. I believe the idea was first mooted by Don Frazer. After he had returned from a visit to nova Scotia, some new heavy weight events were introduced to our games on New Year’s Day. Mike Pausina, who at the time was a Local District Councillor and had over recent years competed in our highland heavy weight games at Waipu, encouraged us to hold a New Zealand Championship event and to apply to host and run the world championship competitions on January 1st 1996 which was the date of our 125th games. Part of Chief Des McLean’s message on New Year’s Day 1992 contained the words “A special thanks must go to our local Councillor Mr Mike Pausina for his drive and enthusiasm in the assistance her has given this Society. If the title Honorary Scotsman could be bestowed it must surely go to Mr Pausina”
Unfortunately Mike Pausina died suddenly in 1992 and on 1st January 1993 Chief Des McLean paid tribute at the opening of the inaugural event saying “We owe the honour of staging this event to the late Mike Pausina whose drive and enthusiasm in the early stages of planning for the NZ Highland Heavweight Championship was considerable. In memory of Mike the winner of the championship will be presented with a challenge belt inscribed in his honour”. The late Steve Barry was the winner and he then travelled to Nova Scotia to compete at games there.
Barley McKay, Don Fraser, Brian McLean, Des McLean and Don Ewen were some of the people who helped to get the first NZ Highland Heavweight Championships up and running on New Year’s Day 1993.
From 1995 well-known television broadcaster John Gordon, provided an additional dimension to the games by providing a well-informed commentary for the spectators as the events progressed. Since the inaugural games on 1st January 1993 the NZ Championship Games competition at Waipu became an annual event. Separate two day World Championship Highland Competitions were also held in 1996 and 2000. Two day games were also held on 1st and 2nd January 2003 and 2007.
During the 2003 games Valerie Adams broke 4 women’s world records. The 14lb Highland stone, 16lb women’s hammer, 14lb weight for distance, and the 28lb weight for height. Her first 3 records remain unbeaten.
Our first team challenge was held on January 1st 2007 with 3 competitors each from Australia and New Zealand. The NZ team won.
NZ Championship Winners Visiting Winners World Champion Winners 1993 Steve Barry 1994 Steve Barry 1995 Julian Cook 1996 P Rakiti-Stone Ryan Vierra (USA) 1997 Patrick Hellier 1998 Patrick Hellier Francis Brebner 1999 Patrick Hellier Douglas MacDonald (Canada) 2000 Patrick Hellier Matt Sandford (AUSTRALIA) 2001 Patrick Hellier 2002 Patrick Hellier 2003 Patrick Hellier Francis Brebner (SCOTLAND) 2004 Patrick Hellier 2005 Patrick Hellier 2006 Patrick Hellier 2007 Patrick Hellier 2008 Patrick Hellier 2009 Patrick Hellier 2010 Patrick Hellier 2011 Patrick Hellier 2012 Patrick Hellier 2013 Patrick Hellier 2014 Jonathan McFarlane 2015 Jonathan (Jono) McFarlane 2016 Patrick Hellier (Paeroa Games)