The Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands’ Association has announced the premier of a documentary being screened on the eve of the 2024 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships, March 14. The film details the journey New Zealanders take to compete at the Worlds in Glasgow every August.

The documentary follows the four Kiwi pipe bands that travelled to the 2023 World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow – Auckland and District, Canterbury Caledonian Society, Manawatu Scottish and St Andrew’s College – from the very start of their campaigns right through to the competition at Glasgow Green. Showcasing the true Antipodean flavour of New Zealand pipe banding, Kiwis from all walks of life show what it takes to travel the 12,000 miles (18,000km) each year to pit themselves against the best in the business.

RNZPBA President Iain Blakeley said: “This documentary showcases the very best of New Zealand pipers and drummers – their tenacity, their dedication, their sacrifice and their love for our art form. I hope it shows the rest of the world not only the effort that these bands people make, but also why we are proud of them and what they do to get there and compete.”

Iain added: “12,000 Miles captures all the moments, the emotions and everything in between on the journey to represent us on the world stage. Quintessentially ‘Kiwi’ at times, the documentary establishes for the world our special sub-culture that exists down-under of this much-loved traditional art form.”

“This isn’t about making money for the Association, or creating a cash-cow for the future. For us, the documentary is a moment in time captured for the benefit of the wider pipe band community, so that we can all better understand what pipe banding is like on the other side of the world, and to encourage more people in the wider community to take part in our very special art form.

“From passion and resilience, through to precision, discipline, birls, paradiddles and everything in between, 12,000 Miles will no doubt be etched into the pipe band diaspora for generations to come.”

Directed by well-renowned New Zealand journalist, content creator and digital storyteller John Sellwood and supported by the RNZPBA and others in the film industry, 12,000 Miles has been a community effort.

Tickets go on sale from now, and the world premiere of the 12,000 Miles documentary will take place in Auckland on March 14.