The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - one of the world’s best known military spectaculars – has announced it will donate £100,000 to charities ($169,000 NZD approx.) in New Zealand, following this year’s sell-out tour in Wellington. This is one of the largest international donations made by the Edinburgh-based charity.
The Tattoo was staged in February in front of a replica of Edinburgh Castle for capacity crowds at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington this year. The run generated an audience of over 84,500 across four nights and increased Wellington City’s CDP by $24.4 million and with a total of $27.4 million for the region. Over 1,500 military and civilian performers took part in the specially commissioned programme entitled ‘Fanfare for the Future’. The programme included a huge Kapa Haka group of over 200. This, combined with the other international acts, represented one of the biggest single groups the Tattoo has fielded.
The £100,000 contribution will support a number of initiatives, caring for veterans and personnel in the Defence Forces, with three New Zealand-based beneficiaries, including: The Charles and Ella Elgar Trust Fund, Heritage Incorporated, and The OFFLIMITS Trust. The Tattoo has also pledged a further £900,000 to charities in Australia and the United Kingdom. Together, the £1M donation represents the largest sum ever donated in the Tattoo’s 66-year history. Since it was established in 1950 the Tattoo has donated over £9M to charities across the world.
Brigadier David Allfrey, Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “The Wellington event was one of our biggest ever shows and we received the warmest of welcomes with members of the audience coming in from across New Zealand and from abroad. We were astonished by the atmosphere in the Westpac and across Wellington. The audience humming Pokarekare Ana as a Māori vocalist took the lead was perhaps the highlight of our entire year.”
“While our aim is to deliver a show that entertains and inspires, we also look to be an effective and efficient charity that can fund the production and - when we deliver a surplus – look to support the Services and the Arts. Being able to contribute to the welfare of veterans, servicemen and women and their families is particularly important to us. The annual award of donations creates a real buzz amongst our Trustees and staff. It is perhaps one of our main ‘reasons for being’.”
“When we started working on the project with the New Zealand Festival we were clear that our intentions were to support their programmes going forward and to leave a legacy of our visit: with the NZDF, the audience, our partners, those that worked with us and with the piping, drumming, highland dancing and fiddle playing communities. We are thrilled this has all come about.”
Lieutenant General Tim Keating, MNZM, Chief of Defence Force, added “The Tattoo holds a special place in New Zealand’s heart, inspiring and uniting nations and the Armed Forces around the world. The organisation’s charitable contributions will really benefit the defence community, supporting not just veterans but serving personnel and their families, following their service to our country. We are extremely grateful to the Tattoo for their substantial contribution.”
Stephen Collier, Chairman of The OffLimits Trust, added: “"This generous donation from the Tattoo will enable the OffLimits Trust to grow its ability to meet health and welfare needs of New Zealand Defence Force members. It is a significant and timely contribution to the work of the Trust."