Performer Focus – Chris Allan, Detective Senior Sergeant, Auckland City District

We are running a series of performer focus pieces for those musicians taking part in the Belfast Tattoo in 2023. While you might know something of their bands and dance troupes we thought we would ask a few more questions about specific individuals and find out more about them!

What is your name and how old are you?

Chris Allan, 45 years old.

Where have you lived and where do you live now?

I currently live and work in Auckland, New Zealand. Before that I lived in New Plymouth, a rural centre on the West Coast of the North Island of NZ.

What instrument do you play and how long have you been playing?

I play the bagpipes. I’m a bit of a late starter to the pipe band scene, I started only 5 years ago.

How did you first get involved with the band / dance troupe that you are with now?

I am a serving member of the New Zealand Police with over 22 years service. I am currently a Detective Senior Sergeant with the criminal investigation branch of the Auckland Police so once I got underway with the pipes I was invited to join the Auckland Police Pipe Band. Being one of the few NZ service pipe bands I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be a serving member.

How would you describe your cultural identity?

Kiwi first and foremost with a spiritual connection to my Scottish genealogy.

What musical accomplishments are you most proud of?

Last year I was the solo piper for a Police remembrance day in Auckland city. As the name suggests this ceremony remembers fallen colleagues and is incredibly poignant. It was a true honour to pipe the lament for that occasion.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I think like most kiwi lads, an All Black.

Who is someone you admire, and why?

In keeping with the All Black theme, the GOAT Richie McCaw. His sporting achievements and leadership are second to none and what is even more impressive is the modest manner how he goes about it all. A truly talented New Zealander whose hard work, determination and humility are an inspiration to many.  

If you could give a younger person musical advice, what would it be?

Get into it and enjoy!! Taking up a instrument and becoming part of a group is such a great thing to do. As well as the friends, connections and fun had along the way, just like team sports, there are so many great benefits and life skills on offer if you stick with it. You never stop learning! And in my case never too old!

What do you enjoy most about being part of your band?

The whole group are just such a great bunch, along with the wider pipe band community. The APPB crew are super friendly, have been so welcoming since I joined and are also really super supportive with tutoring and my musical progression.

What is your favourite memory from your musical career so far?

Any parade is usually pretty special. Last year the APPB led the NZ Police and family participating in the Auckland Pride Parade along the route lined by thousands of public who came out for the event.

What are you most looking forward to when performing at the Belfast Tattoo?

Performing and getting to know a great crew and cast of Tattoo. Also getting the opportunity to look around the beautiful Irish country side and you never know maybe and a pub or two along the way.

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