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Keeping heritage alive . . . Oamaru Victorian Heritage Committee chairwoman Elizabeth Perkinson is preparing dresses for the Scottish-themed Victorian Heritage Celebrations in November. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

“You are what your heritage is.”

And for many New Zealanders, that heritage is Scottish.

Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations committee chairwoman Elizabeth Perkinson said stories of heritage needed to be kept alive, and that was why this year’s Victorian Heritage Celebrations would have a “Highland Fling” theme.

Mrs Perkinson decided on the theme after hearing that the North Otago Scottish Society was nearing its 100th year and Oamaru’s Masonic Lodge was celebrating its 150th.

From November 17 to 21, all things from tartan to haggis would be celebrated.

Committee member Ruth MacEachern said there would be opportunities for people to explore their heritage, with genealogy workshops to be held at the Oamaru Public Library.

“If you know your heritage it gives you an insight into your own life,” Ms MacEachern said.

That encompassed not only family tradition, but the world around us, such as the historic architecture in Oamaru, she said.

“You appreciate how difficult times were for the people who migrated from one place to another, particularly people with Scottish ancestry.”

This year, the celebrations would include a new scone contest between some Oamaru cafes, a haggis ceremony at the Brydone Hotel, a “Scotland versus New Zealand whisky tasting” at the Oamaru Opera House, and traditional tartan weaving demonstrations by McLean & Co.

The Dunedin Scottish Fiddle Orchestra would perform at the annual shindig/ceilidh and there would be a Wild Haggis of Otago Protection Society charity ball.

Tickets for events would go on sale in early September.