Newcomers Home


The Chatelaine can be found wearing this symbol at events

Greetings, and welcome to the Barony of Southron Gaard, a group of people interested in recreating the better parts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Barony is a branch of the International Society for Creative Anachronism, and whilst being centered in Christchurch, covers the entire South Island of New Zealand.

As a newcomer, you may have many questions – “What is the SCA?” “Why are those people wearing funny clothes?” and “Who is that guy in the crown?”. This page provides a quick overview of what is involved in being a part of this entertaining and educational group. We hope that you’ll find the SCA as much fun as we do.

The latest Lochac Newcomers Handbook is now available online here and there is lots of great information available on the Lochac Hospitaller page as well. You could also take a look at our Newcomer Pamphlet, for a quick intro, or come along to a Crafty Shenanigans gathering.

While it is not necessary to be a subscribing member of the SCA to take part in our activities, membership is inexpensive and easy to get – please see this page for more information.

Events 101

The SCA has three basic requirements for participation at garbed events:

  • Everyone must make a reasonable attempt at pre-1600 clothing
    SCA events require wearing an attempt at medieval clothing but fear not, we have clothing you can borrow while you get started. Enquire here for loaner garb.
    While we encourage authenticity, we recognise that some people are limited by budget, time or interest see below for ideas and help with what to wear, or where to get stuff.
  • Everyone should act in a Noble and Chivalrous manner
    We’re trying, in part, to recreate the ideals of chivalry and courtesy exemplified in “the better parts of the Middle Ages”. That should, naturally, be reflected in the way we treat with others – whether on the war field, in Royal Court, or lounging back in the Mangy Mongol.
  • And of course we must obey the rules of the SCA, any rules set by site owners and the Law itself.

We have a few further conventions of conduct that help our Current Middle Ages come to life at an event. When attending an event, give these a go!

  • Everyone in the SCA is assumed to be a member of the nobility, and is worthy of being treated as such! We try to address each other as mi’lord, mi’lady, good noble, to acknowledge this nobility. You may hear some people being referred to with specific titles in accordance with their rank (Royalty, Barons and Baronesses, Peers, and others), but mi’lord/mi’lady/good noble is never out of place!
  • Please don’t use any self-awarded title, or titles granted by other groups. We have a strong culture of awards-with-titles already in place!
  • Further from titles, SCA participants are likely to have persona names which should be used rather than mundane names. Having a persona, whether simply just a name or a full-blown character, helps people to feel they are a part of the Current Middle Ages. If you know someone has a SCAdian name, please use it; if you’re not sure, just ask. Please avoid using or disguise mundane items wherever possible. Decant drinks from plastic bottles into jugs, cover plastic seating with cloth, consider suitable materials for your garb, go barefoot rather than wear pink Nikes, put your cellphone on vibrate, that sort of thing.
  • At meals and feasts, you’ll be expected to provide your own feast gear. Typically this consists of a plate, bowl, drinking vessel and a spoon or knife, preferrably made from something other than plastic. Pack a tea-towel as you’ll be doing your own dishes. There may be feast gear available for hire or purchase at the event.

You may see some items worn by members of the populace that have special meaning. A few of these are:

  • A circlet with pointy bits can denote various ranks, such as Royalty, Baronies, Duchies, among others. If you wish to wear a circlet with your garb, make sure it’s plain!
  • A plain white belt is a sign that the wearer is a member of the Order of Chivalry (i.e. an SCA knight), and is reserved solely for those of that rank.
  • A laurel wreath denotes a member of the Order of the Laurel (people recognised for their high level of artistry in a particular subject)
  • A pelican denotes a member of the Order of the Pelican (people recognised for their high level of service to the society).
  • Symbols of office are sometimes worn by those in Officer roles – such as the Chatelaines wearing a gold key – to make themselves easily identifiable at an event.

The SCA in News and Media

Here are some links to news media articles published that feature the Society, both locally and internationally. These are a great way to see more about what we offer, in bite-sized chunks!

  • SCA an excellent Website which provides a good introduction to the various aspects of the SCA,
  • a CBS item on the SCA in the USA (Gulf War IX, 2006).
  • ABC Australia article on the SCA celebrating the anniversary of the Magna Carta (June 2015)
  • Stuff NZ article on the SCA (June 2015)
  • Stuff NZ article on the Hororata Highland Games, featuring demos from Southron Gaard members (November 2017)