Pipe band’s China pipeline

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Queenstown pipers and Arrowtown can-can dancers are among a 38-strong cultural group performing at next weekend’s famous Shanghai Tourism Festival in China.

Queenstown & Southern Lakes Highland Pipe Band president Keith Cameron says they were invited “because [the Chinese] are doing a promotion of the South Island next year and they wanted some entertainment from Queenstown, as a tourist centre”.

The band’s being supplemented by drummers from the Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band, of Christchurch.

There’ll also be nine dancing Buckingham Belles from Arrowtown, a kapa haka group from Christchurch, and three highland dancers from Northern Southland.

The group, who’ll leave next Thursday, will perform at the opening ceremony next Saturday on four stages, then in a street march.

They’ll then put on 30-minute performances over the following two days.

“They reckon in the street march there’ll be a few hundred thousand people watching and a TV audience of over 200 million,” Cameron says.

The band’s repertoire includes popular Chinese folk song, Jasmine Flower.

Wanaka woman Shona Johnstone, 92, donated 20 Southern Lakes tartan kilts that she’s designed, while Fulton Hogan’s supplying polo shirts.