Upper Hutt Brass Band

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History of the Band

The Band marching in Upper Hutt, 1932

The Band began life as the Upper Hutt Municipal Band in approximately 1920. The exact date of the Band's formation is not known, however recent research has established that the Band was registered as an Incorporated Society in 1927. Records exist that detail Banding activity from about 1920.

Just like today the Band draws its members from all walks of life, all age groups and from all areas. It is recorded in the early records of the Band how one member walked to practice each week from Silverstream. Today members travel from the Wairarapa and Lower Valley to attend practice.

The Band was a member of the Wairarapa Bands Association until 1947 and took part in performances and contests with the Bands from the Wairarapa. A photograph in the possession of the Band shows one of the members cars traversing the Rimutukas in 1928 on the way to an event in the Wairarapa.

During earlier times the Band had a very close relationship with what was then the Upper Hutt Borough Council. The present Mayor of Upper Hutt has been the Patron of the Band for a good umber of years. In the 50's and 60's Mayors Dick Slacke and Percy Kinsman were ardent supporters of the Band and its activities.

Our Bandroom

Practises were held in a number of locations up till 1941 when the Band moved to its recently built premises in Park St, the present Band Room. Band members provided much of the manpower needed in the building, the subsequent extention and later renovations. It is also recorded in the Band's minutes of 22 October 1940 that the Band paid fifty pounds to the Council as part of its contribution. The present Bandroom is too small when practising for contests and consequently the present executive is looking at ways of extending the Bandroom to meet its ongoing needs.
The Band in 1981

Bavarian Band

As a fund raising venture a Bavarian Band was formed in 1976 by John Philipson. The Band played at many events in and around Wellington for the next 20 years. The contribution from this group made possible the two Australian trips (1978 & 1983) and also provided the funding to purchase a good number of new instruments for the band.

The Band played at functions throughout the Wellington region but more importantly enjoyed their moments of fun and fame. The Band had the dubious honour of playing at a National Party function at the Trentham Race Course that was broken up by the Police Riot Squad after the beer had run out. This was not the last occasion the Bavarian Band met the Riot Squad.


Brass Bands by their very nature have attracted members from families. Indeed many families with long associations with Upper Hutt have been members of the Band. While its not possible to name each and every person who has contributed to the Band it would be remiss of any historian not to at least mention some of those families and some of those members whose contribution has been long serving :

Ballentyne, Ernie and sons Peter and Keith, •Bullen, Chris and sons Chris and Jim •Crombie, Ken, Murray & Susie •Evans , Fred and sons Eric and Les •Hall, Reg & son Peter •Harrison, Gordon, Neville and Alan •Jeffery, Don, Karen & Stephen •Jeffrey, Frank and Hugh •Jones, Bill & Neil •Moore, Robert, Rob, James and William •Mudgway, Stan, Stephen & Greg •Neighbours, Len, Athol and Stan •Philipson, John, Kathie & Chrissy •Sayer, Tom, Peter & Evan •Taylor, Harry and sons Alan and Roy and son in law Rex Gredig

Other names synonymous with the Band include:

 Harry St Johnston – Long time Secretary and later Band President
 Eric Cole – Builder extraordinaire
 Don Smith – Former Conductor, NZ Flugel Horn Champion and member of the  National Band of NZ
 Elsie Taylor – Accompanist extraordinaire
 Stan Walsh – caterer to the bands needs
 Gus Collins
 Bill Orr
 Bill Sinden
 Barry Jackson
 Ted Thomas – Band Treasurer for many years

Ladies Committee

No Band in New Zealand would be alive today without at some time having called on their wives and mothers to assist in organisation, fund raising etc. We owe a debt of gratitude to so many. Some names have to be mentioned here for fear of retribution.

The Band will be always indebted to Barbara Crombie, Jan Harrison, Jos Jeffrey and their predecessors who have given so generously of their time and resources.

National Quartet Victory, 1965

Contesting Success

Since attending its first National Contest in 1958 the Band has always been a force to be reckoned with both Nationally and within the Wellington District Because of the considerable cost of attending a National Contest, taking into account the other calls on the Band's funds and members it is not possible to attend each and every National and District Contest and therefore the gaps do not necessarily represent poor contest performances.

Some of the early successes included During the years 1958 – 1963 the Band were the bridesmaid at two National Contests and contested well in the various District Competitions they participated in.

The real halcyon days were from 1970 to 1983 where the Band performed with distinction each time it mounted the contest platform.

 1970 – Dunedin – 2nd
 1971 – Wanganui – 2nd
 1975 – Auckland – 1st Equal
 1976 – Christchurch – 3rd
 1977 – Wellington – 1st
 1978 – Melbourne – Australia – 1st in all Musical Events
 1983 – Sydney – Australia a 1st and two 3rds.
 1997 – Wellington District – 1st B Section

Unfortunately the records are not complete enough or this page not long enough to record all the prize winning performances.


As well as playing for many charitable organisations in and around the valley the Band is well known for its attendances at the Annual Xmas Parades, the Home of Compassion gala and of course the annual Anzac Day Parades.


Much of the above information has been drawn from a compilation of the Bands History made by Ron Jenkins and a sub committee of members, retired members and supporters. While this compilation is not complete Ron and his team spent many hours researching the history of the Band.

Please Note. If you have anything that should be added to this brief history of the band, please contact us via the form on the Contact Us page.