Our History

The Dunedin Highland Games and Festival Committee, consisting of volunteers and supporters, was formed in 1967 to raise funds to support:

We formally changed our name (in 2015) to the Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation and added funding for the Director of Scottish Arts, the Drumming Director, and additional scholarships. We stay dedicated to preserving the Scottish heritage in our city, as well as promoting all forms of Scottish Arts to include performing and visual arts.

The games and festivals also serve to entertain the public while informing them of the Scottish culture. Corporate and community financial support ensures the continuation of the games into the future for the pleasure of the attendees and the participants.


Scottish History in Dunedin

Scottish families originally settled the City of Dunedin in 1899. Two Scotsmen, J.O. Douglas and James Sumerville named the settlement Dunedin, the Gaelic interpretation of Edinburgh, their hometown in Scotland.

In 1957, the Dunedin Highland Junior High (now Dunedin Highland Middle School), was built in honor of Dunedin’s founders. Attending the opening ceremonies as a reporter, Bob Longstreet (who later became a mayor of Dunedin) had an idea. Soon a gift set of bagpipes was on its way from Scotland to the local newspaper’s owner, Roy Thompson, a Scottish lord. Then with Matt Forsythe, a piper extraordinaire who just moved to Dunedin from Scotland, offering his services, the Highlanders were on their way!

The students moved up to the newly built Dunedin High School a few years later and then there were two pipe bands! Soon after, a third band representing the city was formed that consisted of mostly Dunedin High graduates.

In 1964, the City of Dunedin invited Stirling, Scotland to join in the People-to-People program as a Sister City of Dunedin. The City of Stirling reciprocated and the intertwining of the two cities began. In May 2000, the village of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, a city very much like ours, with a strong Scottish heritage, became our second sister city.

Bagpipes are woven into the fabric of Dunedin, as intimately as the wool in the tartan worn by the pipers themselves. Citizens (whether children, teens, adults, or seniors) all love to listen to pipe music. A function in Dunedin is not complete without a Piper!

Donate Today

Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Proceeds from our events benefit the Scottish Arts Programs in the City of Dunedin that include music and Highland dancing.

You can make donations directly to the Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation via the Donate button below. This is done through PayPal. You don’t need to have a PayPal account (nor sign up for one), and you’re able to donate without additional fees via a credit or debit card.