The New Zealand Brass Band Championships is one of the world’s oldest music competitions.

The first contest was held in the Christchurch Drill Hall on the 17th of April 1880 with an audience of 2500 people.  Six bands competed, and the audience chose the winner – the Invercargill Garrison Band, under the command of Captain W.E. Heywood. (BBANZ, 2020)

The formation of the present-day Brass Band Association of New Zealand (BBANZ) in 1931 heralded the beginning of a new era in the history of the brass band movement. Under the then leadership of Mr Ernest Palliser, the association quickly established itself as a highly effective administrative body.

Members elected to the current Management Committee of BBANZ strive to maintain this reputation and to support our member bands. (Newcomb, 1980)

These days the national contest is held annually over five days and includes Junior and Open solo and ensemble competitions, a Sacred Item/Hymn, Test selection and Own Choice selection for band in each grade (A, B, C, D, and Youth), plus a Street March. The contest usually concludes with a gala concert. (BBANZ, 2020)


1: Brass Band Association of New Zealand

2: Extracts from “Challenging Brass: 100 years of brass band contests in New Zealand 1880-1980” By S.P Newcomb

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