Welcome to Cluain!
The Canton of Cluain is an historical re-enactment group covering the period pre 1600 AD. We are part of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) based in the City of Hamilton, New Zealand, reaching out through the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and King Country area.
Our parent Barony is Ildhafn, who are based in the City of Auckland.
What do you do in the SCA? - Click on a photo to find out more.
We are delighted to welcome all newcomers to our Canton. Whether you are "immigrants", visitors from other SCA groups, or have only just encountered the SCA and need to add some variety into your life, we should have something of interest to you.
We have also been known to do demonstrations, interactive talks and the occasional fundraising gig, so if you are organising an event with a historic theme (dark ages, medieval or renaissance) and would like to know how we can be involved in your event please contact our Seneschal.
This page provides a short guide for newcomers on the basics of attending your first SCA event, and of what to do to begin participating regularly in the SCA.
- What is the SCA? What is "Cluain"?
- What do you do at the SCA?
- What do I have to do to take part in an SCA event in Cluain?
- Hints for your first event
- Especially Remember
If you wish to become a member of Cluain, just attend and particpate; paid membership is optional but if you want to do more by all means check out how to set up your SCA membership here.
The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) is an international educational and social organisation, focussed on exploring and recreating the history, skills, and other admirable aspects of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (roughly the Fall of Rome tile the death of Elizabeth I of England in 1603). It is often said that the SCA recreates the Middle Ages "as they should have been" - no plagues, slaves, or unfair taxes, and all the benefits of indoor plumbing. More information may be found here.
Cluain is the name of the Hamilton chapter of the SCA. Cluain is a Canton based in Hamilton, NZ, and is sponsored (overseen/helped) by the Auckland SCA group, the Barony of Ildhafn. All NZ SCA groups are part of the Kingdom of Lochac, which includes all SCA groups in NZ and Australia.
The SCA is organised into Kingdoms (a large geographical area, often several small countries or a group of states/provinces), Baronies (a small/medium city or part of a larger city), and various smaller groups, including Cantons (dependent of a Barony), Shires (independent groups), and Colleges (groups based at a modern University, etc.).
Many things! Primarily, we try to learn new things, socialise with friends, and have fun! Our aims vary from person to person, but here are some reasons people choose to go to SCA events:
- To relax and have fun
- To try new things
- To challenge myself
- To learn more about a chosen period of history, or history in general
- To take part in Arts & Sciences (arts, crafts, research, performance) from other times and places
- To fight in SCA combat (martial arts such as "heavy" sword fighting or fencing) or do archery
- To aspire to the best of medieval "knightly" virtues, honour, chivalry, and courtliness
- To leave the hectic pace and self-centered commercialism of the modern world behind for a while
- To let my whole family be together in a constructive, supportive, and interesting environment
- To see my friends!
Activites at an SCA event may include educational or interactive classes, marshalled combat, target archery, entertainment, shared meals (formal or informal), demonstrations of skill or learning, games, competitions, pageantry, and socialising; all to do with some aspect of the Middle Ages or Renaissance. Everyone is welcome to take part to the best of their ability, and participation is never compulsory (although some activities - eg, Court/feasts - form such an integral part of the event that attendance is almost a "given").
Turning up to your first SCA event is extremely simple. You may be introduced via a friend who is already a member, you may locate us via the internet or a display demonstration, you could stumble over Fighters' Practise in your local park, or you might see a flyer in your local library or community noticeboard. The easiest way to go about it is:
- Check this website's Calendar or a flyer for the next upcoming event and decide if it is convenient/appealing/affordable for you.
- E-mail the Chatelaine (hospitality/newcomer's officer), introducing yourself (and your family if applicable) and stating that you would like to attend [Event X] and would like some assistance/guidance (for instance, with costume, transport, finding the event, etc.)
- Find yourself a plain t-shirt (or similar), some dark tracksuit or casual pants/long skirt, and some plain, dark-coloured shoes to wear to the event. If you contact the Chatelaine ahead of time, some garb (medieval costume) should be found for you to borrow for the duration of the event. This may be a tunic or tabard which can be slipped over your existing clothes, allowing you to blend in with the other attendees. (Modern items such as wristwatches, cell phones, current jewelry/fashions, etc. are usually removed or hidden at SCA events, so as not to "jar" the attempt at historical atmosphere.)
- Following the instructions on the website/flyer and/or given by the Chatelaine (or other contact person), go to the event and ask to speak to the Chatelaine.
- The Chatelaine should welcome you, get you any garb or feasting gear (plates, cutlery, etc.) you may need to borrow for the event, and introduce you to many of the ladies and gentlemen at the event.
- Sit back, look, listen, join in, enjoy!
- Don't be afraid to ask questions - we were all new once! (Ignorance is NOT stupidity.)
- Be aware that if you hang back, people may assume you wish to be left alone and try to comply with your wishes! If you're shy, look for someone or something interesting and watch/listen until you feel comfortable enough to join in.
- If you have any areas of the SCA which have attracted your interest (fighting, sewing, cooking, calligraphy, silversmithing, etc.), be sure to say so - the Chatelaine will be sure to introduce you to any group members who share that interest if it is at all possible.
- Bring along something to do, like a craft project or relevant book - it doesn't have to be strictly medieval (although computer games and MP3 players aren't smiled upon!). Having something to do will keep you occupied and relaxed, and may very well turn out to be an "icebreaker" to start a conversation with someone.
- Don't be afraid to ask to join in something interesting. While some activities require experience or a "permit", or are too delicate or complicated for novices, most SCA activities are very easy to try your hand at. Sharing knowledge and skills is a huge part of the SCA, and most members will be pleased and flattered to be asked!
- Don't worry if things seem overwhelming or confusing; you will get used to it very quickly! Help is only a question away.
- Don't worry too much about seeming out of place. As long as you are courteous and respectful, any mishaps will be attributed to unfamiliarity and no offense will be taken.
- Running an SCA event can be a big task. Don't feel alienated if an SCA member appears too busy or distant to spend much time with you; they are probably "staff" and run off their feet with event business or formal duties. Keep walking - you are sure to find a group of people relaxing, chatting, eating and drinking, just around the corner. :)
- If the event includes a meal, be SURE to tell the Chatelaine or Steward (event host) about any food allergies you may have when you book for the event.
- If you hear the word "HOLD!!!" *freeze immediately*. Do NOT move until an all-clear is given. "Hold" means that something unsafe has happened or may be about to happen (especially in the combat or archery arenas) and nobody should move until it is deemed safe to do so.
- Try to keep glaringly modern items and topics to a minimum, as they disrupt the mood for many people.
- The SCA is based on attitudes of respect, courtesy, diligence, and responsibility. If anything at all makes you feel concerned, uncomfortable, or upset, tell the Chatelaine (or another group officer, a friend, or your host/ess) immediately. We will do everything in our power to resolve the issue and make you feel at home.
The SCA is a family-oriented organisation, and there are young members in the Society who are third- or even fourth-generation SCA members! We welcome families of all types and sizes. However, any children present are the responsibility of their parents/guardians. An event site is a busy and sometimes potentially dangerous place (although all care is taken to make it as safe as possible, some hazards are inevitable), and we can't guarantee your children will be adequately supervised out of your presence. Be aware of where your children are at all times.
Teens and young people can attend SCA events without a parent or guardian present but an adult present at the event will need to be nominated to act as the guardian. If parents have any concerns or questions about their teen's involvement in the Society, they are welcome to contact the Chatelaine, to attend an event themselves, and/or to be introduced to any adult SCA members who have specific, ongoing and regular contact with their teen.
To ask about attending your first event, or to ask questions about the content of this page, contact the Chatelaine.
Thank you for your interest - we are sure you will enjoy your contact with the Canton of Cluain!