A SPECIAL tartan woven in Selkirk will take pride of place at a unique Highland gathering aimed at boosting spirits and raising much-needed cash in a New Zealand community badly hit by the earthquake earlier this year.
Six months on, the aftermath of this tragic disaster is still evident. And it was one village, Hororata – which is about an hour away from Christchurch, the worst affected population area – which turned to its Scottish roots for inspiration to help restore its community with a Highland gathering fundraising event planned for November.
In a bid to generate income, the community contacted the Scottish Tartans Authority (STA) to investigate registering a tartan for the inaugural event.
After hearing the extent of the destruction in the area, particularly to the local church, Brian Wilton, director of the STA, knew the Scottish textiles industry could provide much more help than just a registration.
Mr Wilton – one of the world’s leading tartan designers – offered to design Hororata’s very own tartan, which would be woven in Scotland and gifted to the local community.
All proceeds from the sale of the tartan would then go directly to rebuilding the village. Four different tartans were initially designed and then sent to the people of Hororata for a public vote before the final design was chosen.
The STA then called out to the weavers of Scotland for a willing mill to join the cause donating their time and 30 metres of fabric to the people of Hororata.
It was at this point that Selkirk-based weaver Robin Elliot, from Andrew Elliot Ltd, quickly responded to the STA plea, offering the company’s 40 years of expertise to weave this special tartan.
The tartan will now make the 11,500-mile journey to Hororata. On November 5, the fabric will be displayed at the gathering, which will celebrate the community’s Scottish ancestory and culture.
The Hororata tartan incorporates specially selected colours which represent the area, including red to represent the native Rata tree after which Hororata was named and yellow and black to symbolise the local sports teams and school.
Mr Elliot revealed that the Selkirk firm had jumped at the opportunity of being a part of this unique gift to the people of Hororata.
He told us: “They have been through so much, so it is a pleasure for us to help deliver this special gift of tartan to the people.
“We hope that the tartan is well received at the Highland gathering and boosts the earthquake appeal. The thoughts and best wishes of Scotland travel with the tartan.”
Mr Wilton explained how the new tartan was inspired by the people of Hororata with whom the STA had worked closely over the past three months to design something which will become a part of their community going forward.
“Being able to take this idea of a new tartan for a good cause and bring it to production right here in Scotland is a testament to the goodwill of the Scottish textiles community, and we are delighted that Andrew Elliot came on board to create this important gift,” he added.
David Breckenridge, chair of industry group Textiles Scotland, added: “The Hororata tartan is another example of how the Scottish textiles industry is able to use enviable skills and work together to help others.
“The fact that this latest registered tartan will help one of the areas most affected by the earthquake in New Zealand to rebuild is commendable.
“With insightful design from the Scottish Tartans Authority and skillful weaving from Andrew Elliot, the team has created a unique tartan which Hororata in New Zealand can be proud to call its own.
“We hope that visitors to the inaugural Highland Gathering will enjoy this unique gift and that it generates much funds to help with rebuilding the community.”