Newspaper Article – Bruce still turns in piping-hot displays for leaders

Bruce still turns in piping-hot displays for leaders

He calls himself “the lone bagpiper” from Havelock North and he has performed for New Zealand’s top parliamentary leaders since the 1970s.

And last week he lived up to his name by leading a special ceremony called the Ode To The Haggis in front of Prime Minister John Key, at the opening of the Stewart Financial Group’s new office in Hastings.

It was not the first time Bruce Cawood had piped for a PM.

“I’ve piped for every Prime Minister since (Sir Keith) Holyoake…Norman Kirk, Bill Rowling, Muldoon, Bolger, Helen Clark, and Marshall before Muldoon tipped him out,” he said. “The only one I didn’t was Jenny Shipley. She was only in the office for a short time.”

His work in the regimental band put him in touch with some high-profile people and it was through this group that he gained opportunities to pipe for many Governors General.

His favourite was Sir Keith Holyoake, a PM and later Governor General.

“I did a lot of work with him as Governor General. I also piped for Norman Kirk a week before he died…they were great people and it was just what I was trained to do. I treated them as normal people with very challenging jobs.”

He had piped for Helen Clark in Paeroa before the elections in 2008, and it was his first performance in front of John Key last week.

Mr Cawood said he became a lone piper after work commitments kept him from band practice.

“I haven’t played in a band since 1976…so now I do my own thing.”

Mr Cawood has also played for Stewart Financial Group’s managing director Nick Stewart’s 21st birthday and his wedding.

Photo caption –
LONE PIPER: Bruce Cawood, of Havelock North, played for John Key.

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Newspaper article

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  • Lawrence Gullery


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Bruce Cawood
  • Helen Clark
  • Sir Keith Holyoake
  • Prime Minister John Key
  • Norman Kirk
  • Bill Rowling
  • Jenny Shipley
  • Nick Stewart
  • Prime Ministers Bolger, Muldoon

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