The Origin and Evolution of Pipe Bands: A Rich Musical Tradition


The Origin and Evolution of Pipe Bands: A Rich Musical Tradition


Pipe bands have a long and storied history, combining the unique sounds of bagpipes and drums to create a captivating musical experience. Originating from ancient civilizations, pipe bands have evolved over centuries to become a cherished part of various cultures worldwide. In this article, we delve into the birth, history, and cultural significance of pipe bands, with a special focus on the inspiring journey of three talented Rotorua brothers heading to the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland.


Ancestral Connections: Māori and Scottish Whakapapa


Pipe bands hold a significant place in the hearts of the Armstrong brothers due to their ancestral connections. Their Scottish roots come through their father, Roger, while their mother, Leslie, hails from Tūhourangi, Ngāti Wāhiao, Ngāti Awa, and Ngai Te Rangi. Leslie’s influence guided the brothers towards the world of pipe bands, recognizing the importance of embracing both their Māori and Scottish heritage.


A Musical Journey Begins: The Armstrong Brothers’ Dedication


Three Rotorua brothers are heading to Scotland to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships.

The Armstrong brothers, Maneo and Ngatai, secretly embarked on their bagpipe journey seven years ago. Initially hesitant to reveal their newfound passion to friends, the twins eventually found pride in playing the bagpipes and showcasing their cultural heritage. Younger brother Kairau joined them as a drummer, adding a rhythmic dimension to their performances.


Nurturing Talent: From Rotorua to Tāmaki Makaurau


The brothers’ musical journey started with the Rotorua Pipe Band, but their aspirations led them to travel regularly to Tāmaki Makaurau to practice with the Auckland and District Pipe Band. The dedication and commitment required for their craft are evident in the countless hours spent perfecting their skills and musicality.


Pipe Bands: A Fusion of Cultures



The Armstrong brothers represent a beautiful blend of Māori and Scottish cultures through their performances. Whenever they attend events, their extended whānau expresses enthusiasm and requests for their captivating pipe melodies. The merging of these two distinct cultural traditions highlights the power of music in unifying communities.


The World Pipe Band Championships: A Monumental Achievement

world championship

The pinnacle of pipe band competitions, the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, beckons the Armstrong brothers. This prestigious event draws tens of thousands of spectators and is broadcasted on the BBC. Competing against 150 top bands from around the world, the brothers consider even a top 10 placement a monumental achievement.


A Journey of Preparation: Honing Skills for the World Stage


As they prepare for the World Pipe Band Championships, the brothers immerse themselves in studying videos of their competitors, particularly the Scottish bands who have a remarkable track record at the championships. The dedication to their craft and the passion they exhibit serve as testaments to their commitment to excellence.


Unwavering Support: Family Bonds and Future Aspirations


The Armstrong brothers are fortunate to have unwavering support from their parents, who eagerly await the opportunity to witness their sons’ performances on the world stage. The unconditional love and encouragement from their family create a strong foundation for their musical pursuits.



The story of the Armstrong brothers highlights the profound cultural significance and rich history of pipe bands. Through their journey, we witness the power of music to bridge cultures and create connections. As they embark on their quest to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships, the Armstrong brothers inspire us with their dedication, talent, and the unity they bring to their Māori and Scottish whakapapa. We eagerly await their performances, knowing they carry with them the pride of their heritage and the support of their loving family.

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