Meet the Band

Kerry Ballantyne | Pipe Major

Kerry is the founding member of the City of Sails Pipe Band (with Warren Ross), the Music Director the driver and biggest supporter of the band. Kerry’s energy and humour has largely attributed to the success of the band as a welcoming and family orientated band.

“I started piping at the age of 11 and joined the City of Auckland Pipe Band was a member for some 17 years, the majority of that time competing in Grade 1.

After a short break and stint with the Auckland Police Pipe Band, several of us started the City of Sails Pipe Band.

I have taken the band to competitions in Australia, Canada and the USA.

Last year I competed at the World Pipe Band Championships as a guess player with RAF Luechars.

I enjoy playing interesting music and strive to encourage other for improvement and enjoy teaching the art of bagpiping.”

Jane Murray | Secretary

Jane Murray (Band Mother J!!). As I was approaching 50 I decided I needed a new challenge so started to learn pipes. Joined Sails in 2003 as a very nervous piper with a huge repertoire of 6 tunes! I thought that if I didn’t enhance their Band musically, at least I may be of some use on the organisational front. So I took on the roles of secretary and uniform custodian, aka, general dogsbody. Certainly has been a life changing experience and I enjoy (mostly) the challenges being a Band member brings.

Tom Bretherton | President

The Sails has been part of my life since 2008 and as an adult learner (since 2006 and still learning) I have really enjoyed the participation of being part of a neat band with a welcoming group of people.

I owe a great debt to Anton Hodson, Kerry Ballantyne, Jack Terry and others for the tutoring freely given and for their patience with me.

For me as both a piper and band member the last 12 years have brought some highlights and some real personal stretches, including.

Playing with the band at the “Worlds” in 2014, performing at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in 2016 and in 2019 travelling to India and playing solo to an audience at the finale to a Parikrama, held in an ancient temple.

Being elected President is a real honour and my thanks to Peter Ferguson (immediate past
President) for his guidance and for his contribution from 1998 to the present day.
I look forward to seeing the band develop further, keeping involved with the community, competing and travelling.

Peter Ferguson | Immediate Past President 1998 – 2020

I started to learn the pipes, aged 10yrs, from Angus McAuly who was Pipe Major of the Whangarei Pipe Band and had the prestigious reputation as the piper in the movie “ Whisky Galore”

My family moved to Kaikohe & I was then tutored by Ross Ferguson, Pipe Major of the Kaikohe Pipe Band. When I attended boarding school  & University in Auckland my piping went into recess. I actually sold my Henderson pipes so I could get the airfare to travel to Los Angeles!!

My interest was rekindled 20 years later when I was in Scotland & I had a set of Gillanders & McLeod pipes made. On my return to NZ I joined the Auckland Police Pipe Band & enjoyed many years piping & travelling with the Band including trips to Edinburgh Tattoo and the Basel Tattoo.

I then assisted Kerry & Ross set up the City of Sails Pipe Band in 1992 and continued to play with both Bands for about 10 years until I resigned from the Police Band. 

I was elected Vice President of City of Sails Pipe Band in 1993-1996 and caretaker President in 1997 until I was elected President in 1998, a position I’ve held ever since, apart from 2018.

I am a descendant from Nova Scotia and hold a position on the Waipu Caledonian Charitable Trust Board.

David Mouat-Cortes | Drum Sergeant

Originating from Mexico, David has resided in New Zealand for 20 years. In terms of his professional experience, he has been in several management roles across eight years in different industries which has assisted in his approach to his position as Drum Sergeant in the City of Sails Pipe Band.

Under the tuition of Frank Gibson Jnr, David began playing the drum kit at the age of 12, and from there primarily played in rock and metal bands in his high school and university years. It was during his last year at Auckland Grammar School however that he developed a passion for playing the snare drum in the school pipe band. Since then, he has focussed on developing his own ability and has played in numerous competing pipe bands in grades 4, 3, and 2. He has contributed to various wider pipe band performances in Auckland, most recently having taken the lead drumming/coordinator role in the annual Auckland Tartan Day show. Having tutored several players, David enjoys watching the growth of others he has helped in in terms of their skill level, musical development, discipline and competence in playing.

In his spare time, David enjoys attending live shows including stand-up comedy as well as concerts of almost any genre. Aside from this, his interests also involve playing tennis and some PC games like CS:GO with friends. He has been known to dabble in a cheeky craft beer or a fine glass of pinot noir from time to time…