After taking out three team awards. L to R: Kate Sutton (leader), Tracy Webley (coach), and Renee Rae (leader).

Marching Home A Champion


Seventeen year old, Year 13, Darfield High School student, Kate Sutton can feel proud of both herself and her team after arriving back from the New Zealand Marching Championships having won one award and gained second placing in another two.

Kate has been marching for nine seasons, the past five with her current Club, Eclipse.

She became involved in marching by supporting a friend  who wished to attend after seeing an advertisement in the paper. The pair joined the Club (The Southerns) and Kate fell in love with the discipline.

Kate marches for Christchurch based Club, Eclipse, which offers four team grades. This includes the Eclipse Under 16’s which consists of fourteen members and is led by Kate and fellow marcher, Renee Rae.

Winning championship awards doesn’t come without some hard work and dedication from all team members and Kate attends training for two hours, twice a week as a team. “There is also training that we do ourselves at home,” Kate explained. The team competes in competitions nearly every weekend, throughout the season, as well.

“We take part in a training camp over one weekend and do some extra training days as well. Also a  month before Nationals, we train for an extra hour a week,” Kate enthused.

A typical marching season runs from September through to March. Each season Kate’s team masters two Technical phases set by Marching New Zealand and a Display phase that is choreographed by the team and coaches.

At the recent New Zealand Marching Championships, held in Hamilton (March 16-17th), the team used these routines to bring home the awards. Kate’s team walked away with;

  • 1st Champion Under 16 Display Team
  • 2nd Champion Under 16 Technical Drill Team,
  • 2nd Overall Champion Under 16 Team.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling being called out to win a national title,” an excited Kate said. “What makes it even more special is that we’ve won the display title four years in a row now!”

To qualify for the New Zealand Championships, the team had been competing in local competitions, as well as competing throughout the South Island and North Island. To make it to the final day of the Championship the teams had to be placed top six in the first day.

This is Kate’s final season with the Under 16’s and she is moving into the Senior Grade next year which she is looking forward to with mixed emotions. “I plan to keep marching for as long as I can, I love the sport and can’t see myself doing anything else,” she concluded.