Welcome to Cluain!

The Canton of Cluain is an historical re-enactment group focusing on the Middle Ages and Renaissance 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.

If you would like to join the SCA click here: JOIN THE SCA

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.  

These pages provide a short guide for newcomers on the basics of attending your first SCA event, and what to do to begin participating regularly in the SCA. To enquire about attending your first event, or to ask questions about the content of these pages, please contact the Chatelaine.

If you wish to become a member of Cluain, just attend and participate; paid membership is optional. If you would like to become a paid member, by all means click here to set up your SCA membership.

If you are organising an event with a historic theme (dark ages, medieval or renaissance) we may be able to help or get involved. Please contact our Seneschal for more information. We also do demonstrations, interactive talks and assist with medieval themed fundraising activities.

Thank you for your interest - we are sure you will enjoy your contact with the Canton of Cluain!

ACTIVITIES

Here are some of the things you can do in the SCA - this list is not exhaustive! Click on a photo to find out more.

 


WHAT IS THE SCA? WHAT IS "CLUAIN"?

The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) is an international educational and social organisation, focused on exploring and recreating the history, skills, and other admirable aspects of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (roughly the Fall of Rome til the death of Elizabeth I of England in 1603). It is often said 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 covers the greater Waikato, Bay of Plenty and everything from Taupo to Bombay. Cluain 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).

WHAT DO YOU DO AT THE SCA?

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 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 to do archery.
  • To aspire to the best of medieval "knightly" virtues, honour, chivalry, and courtliness.
  • To leave the hectic pace and commercialism of the modern world behind for a while.
  • To have my family spend time together in a constructive, supportive, and interesting environment.
  • To see my friends, relax and have fun!

Activites at an SCA event involve some aspect of the Middle Ages or Renaissance and generally include:

  • Marshalled combat and/or target archery,
  • Shared meals (formal or informal),
  • Socialising, music and entertainment,
  • Educational or interactive classes, demonstrations of skill or learning,
  • Games and competitions,
  • Pageantry and court,
  • Working on personal or group projects.

Everyone is welcome to take part to the best of their ability, and participation is never compulsory (although some activities, like Court and feasts, form such an integral part of the event that attendance is almost a "given").

HOW TO GET STARTED

Interested in getting involved? It's easy!

  • Check this website's Calendar, our Facebook page or a flyer for the next upcoming event and decide if it is convenient/appealing/affordable for you.
  • E-mail or message the Chatelaine (hospitality/newcomer's officer), introducing yourself (and your family if applicable) and advising you would like to attend [Event X] and would like some assistance/guidance (for instance, with costume, transport, finding the event, etc). Check out the information on attending your first event here.
  • Like our Facebook page and/or get on our mailing list to keep up-to-date with the latest happenings.
  • Although all official events are garbed (costumed) you don't need to have any garb or equipment to start - there are items available for you to borrow so you can check it out here until you get yourself set up.
  • If you are interested in archery or heavy combat, contact our Captain of Archers or the Group Marshall and/or turn up to practice (practice isn't mandatory to participate in these activities).

Hastilude

Hastilude is our monthly gathering where we meet at a member's house to socialise and work on personal or group projects in an informal setting. Contact the Chatelaine if you need the address. It's a good opportunity to get your kit together, pick people's brains and get to know the group a bit better.

Generally Hastilude has the following format:

  • Held on the third Saturday of the month.
  • No cost, folks come in ordinary (mundane) clothing.
  • 2pm - Council (committee) meeting - everyone is welcome, you can come at this time and join in the meeting, listen and/or work on your own stuff, otherwise you can arrive at 3pm.
  • 3pm - Work on personal or group projects, chit-chat and provide/get input on current projects.
  • 6pm - Shared dinner. Bring something along, it doesn't have to be medieval food but can be if you like.
  • Leave when you're ready.

Membership

Purchasing membership is optional. Attending official events without membership will incur a small extra charge and require a little more paperwork on signing in. With membership you can hold office, enter crown tornaments and have access to group publications. Click here to join the SCA.  

PREPARING FOR YOUR FIRST EVENT

So you've decided to come along to an event. It may seem a bit daunting at first, however, we were all new once!

Even for full weekend events you can just come for the day, or even a few hours, to get a taste of what we do.

  • Booking
  • Costuming
  • What to bring
  • What to expect
  • Hints and tips

BOOKING

For almost all official Cluain events you will need to book first on this website (not just on the Facebook event page). Bookings generally close two weeks before the event, however, booking earlier helps the sewards (event organisers) immensely and can be cheaper (some SCA groups do early bird prices). Payment is best done by internet banking prior to the event.

When you book, make SURE you let us know of any dietary requirements or anything you might need - we're happy to accommodate your needs. Contact the Chatelaine if you need any assistance, information or directions, or to borrow items for the event.

COSTUMING (GARB)

  • There's no need to hire a costume or make yourself something prior to your first event.
  • Wear a plain t-shirt (or similar), dark tracksuit or casual plants/long skirt, and some plain, dark-coloured shoes.
  • 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, etc, are hidden at SCA events to help promote an historical atmosphere.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Feasting Kit: If you happen to have any metal, pottery or wooden cups, bowls and plates, these are ideal for use at events. A lot of the hot food is in the form of soups and stews, so a wooden bowl is highly recommended. Most cutlery is fine as long as it's not too modern-looking. If you can bring these in a wicker basket, wooden box, or a plain pillow case, they can be kept handy for mealtimes. If you don't have anything suitable, a feasting kit can be loaned to you for the duration of the event. Just let the Chatelaine know or include it in your booking form.
  • Something warm: Particularly if it is a camping, outdoor and/or winter event. Thermal underwear and thick socks are a good idea if you don't have much garb and/or feel the cold. Sleeping with thick socks and/or a woollen hat will help keep you warm at night. A plain coloured woollen blanket can double as a cloak and dressing gown and will give you some protection from embers from the fire. A kilt pin makes a passable cloak pin.
  • Sun protection: A straw hat or hood (the latter can be easily made), or a veil (head scarf) for ladies, are good options for sun protection. Veils in this time period were generally a strip of white linen - calico is perfectly adequate. But don't forget the sunscreen.
  • 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 turn out to be an 'icebreaker' to start a conversation with someone.
  • Beverages: Bring your own alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Be aware some venues are 'dry' or 'discreetly wet'. Keep modern drink containers out of sight (pour them into a tankard in your tent or hide the bottle in a cloth bag/basket). Please drink in moderation, these are family events. You will need to take your empties home, don't leave them or their lids lying around the campsite.
  • Seating: If you have folding director's/wooden deck chairs for each member of your party, these are great to bring along for outdoor events. Don't panic if you don't have anything suitable, there are usually a couple of bench seats available for general use.
  • Camping Gear: Just the usual gear and bedding for sleeping in a tent, though if you have an older-style canvas tent (no zips, eg: a scout tent) you can set up in the medieval encampment area. Otherwise there is another area for modern tents.
  • Extra clothing for children: There's loads of outdoor fun for children at camping events. They can end up very wet and dirty - make sure you bring plenty of clothes for them to change into.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • There should be signage on the street directing you to the venue. When you arrive, ask to speak to the Chatelaine.
  • The Chatelaine will welcome you, help you sign in, get any garb or feasting gear (plates, bowls, cutlery, etc) you may need to borrow for the event and introduce you to the ladies and gentlement at the event.
  • If you need assistance with setting up your tent, that can be arranged.
  • If any areas of the SCA have piqued your interest (fighting, sewing, cooking, calligraphy, silversmithing, etc), be sure to say so - the Chatelaine will introduce you to any group members who share that interest if it is possible.
  • Some words and customs will be unfamiliar, don't be daunted, they'll soon be second nature.
  • Group members use a persona when at SCA events, therefore when you ask someone's name you could get their persona or mundane (real) name or both. Don't worry if it gets confusing they'll respond to either name. It's fine to not have a persona for a while and use your real name.
  • SCA events are generally quite busy, often with lots of different activities happening at once (classes, games, competitions, combat, etc). Feel free to ask to have a go at something, most members love to share their passion and knowledge and it's a huge part of what the SCA is about.

HINTS and TIPS

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ignorance is not stupidity.
  • If you hear the word "HOLD" *freeze immediately*. Do NOT move until an all clear has been given. "Hold" means something unsafe has happened or may be about to happen (particularly in the combat or archery arenas) and nobody should move until it is deemed safe to do so.
  • 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, your host/ess) immediately. We will do what we can to resolve the issue.
  • Sit back, look, listen, join in and enjoy!

YOUTH and FAMILY

FAMILIES:

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:

Teens and young people can attend SCA events without a parent or guardian present, however, 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.