Tales aplenty as Scottish bard celebrated in style

The Invercargill Scottish Hall hosted a full house on Saturday to celebrate Robert Burns Dinner.
Piper Bill Blakie leads the procession after piping in the haggis at the Robert Burns dinner held at the Scottish Hall in Invercargill on Saturday.

BAGPIPES, tartans, swishing kilts, haggis and of course a good single malt whisky were all part of the flair and fanfare of the Robert Burns Dinner at Invercargill’s Scottish Hall on Saturday.

The evening would not have been complete without the traditional Selkirk Grace address to the haggis and toast to the haggis, Queen, Scotland, New Zealand, the lassies [women] and the man himself — Robert Burns.

Guests speaker, Space Ops New Zealand chief executive officer Robin McNeill, entertained the 90 guests with his tales about the Awarua Space Ops base.

But it was his passionate plea to the audience to ask themselves what sort of planet they wanted to leave future generations that created some after-dinner discussions said Robert Burns convener Kathy Richardson.

Father and daughter duo Steve and Kayla Wilcox entertained with Celtic ballads during dinner and moved to more modern melodies later in the evening.

A Robert Burns celebration would not be complete without singing the famous poet and song-writer’s most well known composition Auld Land Syne at the end of the evening.

Celebrating the Scottish bard’s birthday each year has been a tradition since his death in 1796. The Celtic poet was born in Alloway, Scotland on January 25, 1759. At his death, the 37-year-old left behind a rich heritage of sonnets, lyrics and works which addressed many political and civil issues of his time.

Burns was buried with full civil and military honours on the same day his son Maxwell was born.

His published literary works helped to support his widow and son.