The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee manages the governance of the Academy.
Mrs Beckie Rout (Patron)
Annetta Cowie (President)
Barbara Tait ( Vice President &North Island Representative)
June Wright (North Island Representative) & (Piping and Dancing Representative)
Jackie McBride (South Island Representative)
Jeanie Borsboom (South Island Representative)
Sherilyn Hall (Technical Director)
Avalon Moffatt (Piping and Dancing Representative)
Raewyn Weggery (Secretary/Treasurer)

Annetta Cowie - President

Highland Dancing has been a significant part of my life, having commenced learning at the age of three.  Throughout my dancing journey, which has involved learning, competing, teaching, adjudicating and as an administrator, it has given me lifelong skills which have been valuable in many aspects of my life.

I am a member of the Otago Centre Piping and Dancing, in the capacity as Vice President and am one of their Delegates to the National Council of Piping and Dancing Association.  A few years ago I was honoured to receive Life Membership of the Centre.
Highland and National Dancing has given me so much over the years, not only in dancing but also the confidence to succeed in the greater community. I see the role of President of the New Zealand Academy as an opportunity where I can contribute as part of a team, to an already successful organisation and to give something tangible in return for what it has given me.

June Wright
Representative elected from the North Island Members

Born and raised in Napier, dance and music was introduced into my world at the age of 6.
I completed my Advanced diploma with Honours in all Grades.
As well as Highland Dancing, I was fortunate to learn, compete and do examinations in Tap Dancing, Modern Dance, Piano, Singing and Speech.
I began playing the piano for dancing exams and summer school while still in Napier and have been playing for the exams in Auckland ever since moving to here to attend University. I also play for the exams in Gisborne.

I run a dance school in South Auckland. It is important for me to instill in my pupils the same traditions and passion for the art that was instilled in me.
Currently I am President of the Auckland Centre of the Piping and Dancing Assn. of NZ, Vice President of the Auckland National Dancing Teachers and Judges Assn. and President for the Papakura City Highland and National Dancing Assn.

At present I am the National Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manager for Farmers Trading Ltd.

I consider it a great privilege to serve on the Executive Committee. This gives me the opportunity to draw from a combination of the knowledge I have obtained from my involvement in dancing, together with my business management skills, and work with an exceptional team of people to ensure that the Academy’s goals are met in an efficient and effective manner.

Barbara Tait
North Island Representative 

Mrs Tait commenced dancing at the age of five years after being seduced by the beauty of the tartan socks at the local A and P Show. She passed all Academy examinations under the tuition of Mrs Jeanie Paton and after a successful competitive career which included winning numerous New Zealand, Island and Centre Championship titles under the guidance of Mrs Jeanie Paton and Mrs Emma Brown, she became an Executive Council member of the New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing Association. This position she has continued to hold until the present day.

Mrs Tait is also a teacher and judge of Highland and National Dancing. She is an active member of the Piping and Dancing Association of New Zealand and currently holds the position of President of the Taranaki Centre of the Piping and Dancing Association. A secondary School teacher, Mrs Tait has three children, two of whom are Highland Dancers and all three of whom are involved with the local Pipe Band.

Jackie McBride
South Island Representative

 Being born into a household where Highland Dancing was a major part of life certainly helped when I commenced dancing lessons with Helen Jones-Sexton, as I could already dance the Highland Fling, Sword Dance and Irish Jig - this from watching my mother, Enid Weir, teach from an early age. As a senior, my teacher was past Technical member Mrs Janice Wood - both of my teachers and my mother instilled in me a love of dance, taught me the Academy history and the importance of where our technique has come from.

As an elected member of the Executive Council my wish is to see the Academy grow stronger and to ensure that future members all have the opportunity to understand and maintain our technique.

I have held the position of the Competition Secretary for 12 years at the Otago Centre and have held the positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer for our Otago Teachers and Judges Club (The Ghillie Callum Club). I am an active adjudicator and enjoy adjudicating at all levels through out New Zealand.

Skills I have been able to bring to Executive from my professional life, are both Financial and Administrative. 

Jeanie Borsboom
South Island Representative

 I was privileged to have been named after Jeanie Paton who was my mother’s dancing teacher. My mother, Cushla Piesse, is a solo seal recipient and examiner. I began dancing at age 4 and learned from Joan Osborne throughout my dancing career. I began teaching early on and completed my diploma with honours in 1993.

I graduated from University in 2000 with degrees in history and law and briefly practiced law before travelling overseas. I am now a Regional Manager in the Labour Inspectorate which involves working to ensure employers comply with all minimum standards of employment.

In 2002, I lived in Scotland and danced at several Highland Games. The experience was extremely valuable to me and I felt very proud dancing our Academy technique in Scotland, particularly the jigs and hornpipes.

I currently judge and I teach at Scottish Society classes. I am the vice president of the Christchurch Balmoral Club. I am also active in the Piping and Dancing Association.

I believe the future strength of our Academy will depend on our ability to convert more of our graduates into teachers, judges and administrators.

Sherilyn Hall
Technical Director

Mrs Hall commenced Highland Dancing on Doctors advice after having polio as a young child. She was taught by Mrs Emma Brown (nee Maye) in her early years and later by Mrs Edna Moore, returning to Mrs Brown on occasions for further lessons in her teenage years. She also learnt ballet and piano.
Her competitive achievements were renowned throughout the country.
In her early twenties Mrs Hall became a demonstrator for the Technical Committee and later a Technical Committee member. She assisted the Research Committee, again in a demonstrating role, while the current Highland and Step Dance Syllabuses were being compiled.
On Mrs Brown’s retirement Mrs Hall was appointed the Technical Director. As Director she has overseen the development of the Academy Initial to Grade 1 video, the preparation of the Let’s Dance and Getting Started syllabuses, the restructuring of the Medal Tests and the revamp of the Refresher (Dance Development) Course. As well as undertaking examining duties, she has conducted workshops and seminars throughout New Zealand, and tutored at Summer Schools.
In 1999 Mrs Hall represented the New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing at the International Highland Dance Conference in Las Vegas, conducting Step Dancing workshops and speaking on an international panel.
Mrs Hall was accomplished in netball and gymnastics and represented New Zealand in Volleyball in the early 1970’s. She currently owns and operates a ladies fashion boutique in Palmerston North and when not involved with dancing in her spare time enjoys travel, boating and deep sea fishing as well as a good book!

Avalon Moffatt
Representative from the Piping and Dancing Association of New Zealand

 Mrs Moffatt commenced ballet at the age of 4 and Highland and National dancing at age 6. She was taught Highland dancing by her mother Mrs E McLeod, in Hamilton, until the age of 16, when she moved to Wellington. On arriving in Wellington she learnt from Mrs E Wooller and completed her final exam under her guidance. Avalon attained Honours in all grades and she competed very successfully throughout New Zealand winning many North Island, South Island and New Zealand championships.

Avalon thoroughly enjoys adjudicating and has adjudicated at many competitions including a number of New Zealand Championship meetings. Although not teaching at present former pupils were very successful in both examinations and competitions.

Avalon is currently Vice President of the Piping and Dancing Association of NZ, and President and Life Member of the Wellington Centre of the Piping and Dancing.
Avalon has a great love of dance and wishes to serve all dancers in New Zealand for the betterment of Highland and National dancing and retain the heritage that has been handed down through the years in New Zealand.

Raewyn Weggery
Secretary, Treasurer and Examination Secretary

Mrs Weggery began to learn Highland Dancing at the age of six with Mrs Andrea Quinn after being encouraged to ‘give dancing a try’. Her love of dancing grew and at the age of twelve she began learning from Mrs Sherilyn Hall.

Mrs Weggery successfully competed at all levels all over New Zealand, in Daylesford Australia and in Scotland including several years in the eighteen years and over New Zealand Championships. During this time her love for the Scottish music, dance and culture grew.

Mrs Weggery is a qualified teacher and adjudicator and enjoys passing on her love of highland dancing to her pupils and watching them succeed.

Mrs Weggery holds a Bachelor of Business Studies degree and is the Academy Secretary and Treasurer.


The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing Inc., PO Box 5470, Palmerston North
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