Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: March 2021

The current FAQ is largely drawn from 2020 discussions and Mistress katherine's resulting documentation. Many of the forward-looking answers below are provisional/guidance only at present, as they’ll only be confirmed when the populace has had a chance to consider and vote on some of the options discussed.

Any comments or suggestions? Please let us know via the Feedback form.

Recommended Terms (used below)

Coronet – a gender-neutral way of referring to the ruling pair in a Principality

New Zealand/NZ Principality – a regional identifier useful prior to deciding on a duly polled and registered in-game Principality name and heraldry


Quick summary (read this if nothing else!)

What is a Principality?

Why go Principality?

Do we have enough members?

Can we fill all required Officer positions?

What Principality Officers would we actually need?

What about just having a Regional Seneschal?

Can we achieve the same benefits with a beefed-up SCANZ (SCANZ+)?

What are the barriers to Officer recruitment and how can we reduce them?

Can we get a name and device registered?

Is there consensus favouring advancement across the relevant membership?

Can we demonstrate a record of well-attended events for members and the community at large?

Do we have enough Peers to support the Orders?

Do we have enough quality rattan fighters to provide appropriate competition?

Can we produce appropriate Principality laws?

What are the risk factors?

Can we have an alternative selection  process other than/in addition to rattan combat?

Is there any chance for this to be approved under current rules?

What are possible alternative selection processes?

What is not wanted in a selection format?

How could such a change in selection future-proof the SCA?

How could this affect our relationship with the Crown and Kingdom?

What financial and other resources will be needed and do we have them?

Where do we go from here?

Where can I read more…

Survey Analysis


Quick summary of New Zealand Principality Discussion

NB: A summary can never be as nuanced as a full discussion - if time permits please read the whole document here, or at least the bits that may interest you the most!

Why Go Principality?

Strategic benefits:

  • allowing a better cultural and legal fit and a stronger sense of regional identity
  • providing a mandate for national development for better support, growth and governance, with the support of local high-level Officers to actively boost recruitment, retention and operations

In-game benefits:

  • local representation and inspiration with local, known Royalty
  • greater equity by spreading Royal activity across groups and enabling better access to Royalty
  • grow greater confidence/experience in newer groups through handling Coronet events to be able to host Crown events
  • making a Royal role more attractive and attainable, through having significantly-reduced financial, energy and logistical demands compared to Crown

Administrative benefits:

  • lessening the administrative burden and costs on Kingdom by spreading the load and reducing managerial complexities
  • addressing increasing complexity and demands as a result of mundane law changes, minimising side-effects of changes across the Tasman
  • resources invested to achieve better results, providing encouragement, planning and growth


What’s needed according to Corpora?

  1. have at least 100 members

Between 2012-2017, NZ had a stable subscribing adult membership of around 160-170; by early 2020 this had grown to 214 and has remained at that level in spite of subsequent Covid effects. Add around 25% for non-member participants, that brings us up to roughly 270. (On debut, the Crown Principality of Lochac had about 95 members.)

  1. fill all required Officer positions

We have maintained and grown our own groups for 40 years and for the past 15+ have also contributed significantly to the Kingdom Officer cadre. Six Principality Officers would be needed; some equivalent roles have been in place for many years already (eg NZ Exchequer) or could be combined. That is, in a Principality one officer is permitted to hold other offices if it makes sense and workload permits. (See the main document for an extended discussion of concerns and responses.)

  1. have a name and device registered with the College of Arms

Proposed names and devices could be polled for acceptance and one adopted as a regional populace badge or simply held for when/if actually required.

  1. demonstrate a consensus favouring advancement across the relevant membership

A casual survey in late 2020 indicated 57% support from the 60% of SCANZ membership responding (plus 14 non-members). If/when further work proceeds and all ducks are completely lined up, a formal poll would be conducted by the Kingdom Seneschal.  (See Survey Analysis)

  1. demonstrate a record of well-attended events together with regular study or guild meetings, demonstrations, and other educational activities for the benefit of the members and the community at large

New Zealand has done this for almost 40 years.

  1. have sufficient members of the orders conferring Patents of Arms to foster the development of those orders and the skills they represent within the Principality

As of October 2020, NZ has 48 Peers (24% double+); around 92% are active to various degrees. They are evenly spread north-south. (On debut, the Principality of Lochac had 16 Peers.) Kiwis have served as Clerks of every Order, and NZ has second-generation Peers.

  1. have sufficient fighters of such calibre as to provide appropriate competition

(Updated Mar '21): NZ currently has 33 authorised heavy fighters, around 8-15 regularly attend fighters’ practices in Darton and Southron Gaard. (cf Crown Tourney lists range from 7-15; the 2017-2019 average was 12; Darton Crown 2019 fielded 7 NZ fighters in a lists total of 12).

For reference, Insulae Draconis has 37 authorised fighters and typically 10-12 contest the Coronet tourney, though it has been as low as half a dozen.

  1. a body of Principality Law which provides for the maintenance and succession of the Coronet, and for any other matters delegated or permitted by the parent Kingdom

There are plenty of models to work from and plenty of capability to create this.

Can we have an Alternative Selection Process other than/in addition to rattan combat?

Widespread support to date for an alternative selection process has been based on the desire for a more inclusive, broader-based method of choosing a Coronet, to attract new people, energise current members and chart a more culturally-appropriate way forward. The SCA (US)-SCANZ affiliation agreement specifically delegates to SCANZ the ability to …authorize a branch or group of branches to experiment with a non-standard class of organization. This may open a door but considerable local and international consultation would also be needed.

Some possible alternative selection processes (or combinations thereof):

  • Champion format: permitting a heavy fighter to represent a couple
  • Triple prowess: rotate tourneys sequentially through heavy, rapier and target archery forms over each term
  • A&S championship
  • A voting system or a lottery or combination (see Venetian Voting in main doc)
  • Auction
  • Wait-listed


Will going Principality affect our relationship with the Crown and Kingdom?

There’s nothing to stop Kiwis hosting or entering Crown events (a Principality might strengthen our capabilities for both). Interaction with Crowns always depends primarily on individual Crowns. Experience in Insulae Draconis (UK, Ireland, Iceland) over the past decade has suggested increased interest from Crowns after they went Principality.

Reign Period

Strong recommendation to consider a nine-month term  - the model adopted in Insulae Draconis -  most especially to cycle Coronet selection through the year to avoid group/event capture, and to make Coronet travel/projects more manageable. Also support for a combined Coronet selection plus Coronation event rather than having two separate events.

Do we have the resources to support a Principality?

As of 31 March 2020, the NZ group balance was $49,000 and SCANZ had almost $27,000 (both roughly doubled during the past decade). NZ can well afford to support likely establishment and running costs and has the skills needed to create worthy regalia, heraldry, ceremonies, awards...

Where do we go from here?

The casual survey in late 2020 indicated sufficient interest to consider further work on the concept, with more discussion, formation of working groups, feedback and iterations - eventually aiming to develop a widely-consulted acceptable Principality bid. When/if that comes too fruition, we can then request a formal poll administered by the Kingdom Seneschal to gauge support.

For more details on formation process, see Bartholomew’s Roadmap.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Principality?

The SCA Kingdom of Lochac is a formally organised and highly self-governing SCA uber-group covering Australia, New Zealand and their Antarctic territories.

Under SCA administration, Kingdoms can have as few as 400 people (Lochac has 1,500+ paid members with many additional non-subscribing participants); many subgroups (Lochac has 12 Baronies, 5 Shires and many Colleges, Cantons and Hamlets); has landed Royalty (the Crown, typically a King and Queen) who ordinarily serve a six-month term and are chosen by winning a rattan-based (“heavy”) tournament. The Kingdom has no parent group, other than the SCA itself and the affiliated legal entities which cover mundane operational matters in our countries (SCA Ltd and SCA NZ Inc), which each in turn have affiliation agreements with the SCA Inc in the US, managed by the SCA BOD.

A Principality is defined as a formally organised and self-governing group within a parent Kingdom, with as few as 100 people but typically more; consisting of several sub-groups such as Shires or Baronies; and with a local landed Royalty (the Coronet, traditionally Prince & Princess) who typically serve a defined less-than-a-year term and who, under  present rules, are chosen by winning a rattan-based tournament held for that purpose

A Principality is organised around a pre-existing sense of identity and affiliation (eg cultural, geographical, national). Within a new Principality, life continues much the same: group Councils govern group activities; the Crown visits when They can; member groups can hold Crown events; the Kingdom levy and Kingdom-administered services still apply; Principality members can still enter Crown Tournaments and hold Kingdom Offices etc.

There is a new layer of Royalty (the Coronet pair) and Principality Officers (six currently required). The Principality Officers work with and support their equivalent sub-group officers, collect reports, and themselves report to the Coronet and to their equivalent Kingdom Officers. There is some room for agreed-upon variation in all this, defined by local Kingdom and Principality laws.

Principalities can have their own non-armigerous awards, dispensed by the Coronet. These are discussed and developed within and by the Principality itself, with support from Kingdom entities as appropriate. The Crown may also delegate presentation of some defined Kingdom-level awards to a Coronet.

A Crown Principality (CP) is a Principality only in name, headed by the King and Queen who act as Prince and Princess; it has no laws and no Officers or, usually, no local formal head; it is not recognised or defined within Corpora. It tends to be an optional placeholder while groups work toward full Principality status. (This is the stay in the basement option the TirMarans eventually chose in 2008; ref pg 1 of the full Principality Discussion document.)

Sometimes Crowns will permit CPs to have ceremonial heads; typically Vice-Reigns chosen by rattan combat. (The Aethelmearc CP had an appointed Lady Protector for a few months until the group went full Principality.) A CP with Vice-Reigns provides some in-game pageantry positives, but there are significant limitations on vice-regal capabilities which reduce their role compared to a Coronet. Also this approach would not address the strategic or administrative issues that a full Principality could (see below).

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Why Go Principality?

This list concentrates on the likely positives (a solutions-focused appraisal); negatives that have been raised are discussed in greater detail in other FAQ items.

A Principality could help us strategically by:

  • giving us some clear local leadership and strategic direction
  • allowing a better cultural fit and a stronger sense of regional identity
  • providing a mandate for national development for better support and growth, with the support of local high-level Officers; currently there is no mandate or staffing to do this at a national level, which is actively hampering growth
  • enabling a closer focus on the needs and opportunities of the individual groups, recognising their specific and unique situations
  • updating our governance structures to reflect the growth we have had in trebling the membership since 2004
  • giving smaller groups a chance to develop and shine by having the ability to host Coronet events as well as Crown events
  • better insulating us from non-relevant laws and strictures which come out of a different national and legal framework
  • reducing carbon offsets by reducing travel distances for available Royalty
  • providing added local support in a post-COVID world where there is likely to be significant flow-on effects from habituation to physical distancing, social media fracturing communications and souring relationships, economic hardship at many levels, reduced participation etc.
  • and if we continue to grow well as a Principality, Kingdom status may well eventually beckon, as it did 18 years ago for the Principality of Lochac

At present, there isn't anyone who can speak, act, support and plan for us collectively, the way a Principality Seneschal and their fellow officers would. There isn't anyone who can inspire, motivate, reward and defend our NZ-wide populace, the way a Coronet could. -   Master Bartholomew Baskin OP (former Kingdom Seneschal & Landed Baron, Current Deputy KS)

A Principality could improve our in-game experience by:

  • giving us local representation and inspiration with local, known Royalty (so far, no Kiwi Crowns in 18 years of belonging to the Kingdom)
  • allowing greater opportunity for Royal pageantry and interaction, specially for those NZ groups which very rarely get a Crown visit
  • creating greater equity among NZ groups by spreading Royal activity and enabling better access to Royalty (Southron Gaard is highly over-represented in current Crown visits; this inequity creates a number of problems in principle and practice)
  • grow greater confidence and experience in newer local groups through handling Coronet events to be able to consider bidding for Crown events (works to help both smaller groups and also newer stewarding teams in the well-established groups)
  • making a Royal role more attractive and attainable locally, through having  significantly-reduced financial, energy and logistical demands compared to Crown
  • creating interest among participants who would not normally consider (or even be able to consider) a tilt for Crown itself
  • giving artisans a high-level arena to showcase their skills and see their work actively used and appreciated at Royal level (most currently goes overseas)
  • reducing long delays in recognition, and making recognition more personal through stronger social contacts via Principality awards (current Kingdom awards tend to be made once a year in NZ, almost exclusively at Canterbury Faire in Southron Gaard)
  • providing the chance for more coherent interaction (fun!) with other parts of the Kingdom via a regional figurehead and in-game play
  • enabling us to emphasise those elements of SCA culture and practice that appeal most to our members, creating and reinforcing traditions that might differ from the dominant culture and default practices across the Tasman
  • boosting and supporting the designated selection combat form/s by example of participation and the appeal of the Coronet
  • providing a stepping stone for combatants who feel they need that to improve their skills and work their way up towards entering a full Crown Tournament
  • potentially supporting an Alternative Selection Process for greater franchise and engagement (more on this below); successful implementation could provide an acceptable model for a more inclusive, stronger future for Lochac and the entire Known World


A Principality could encourage improved administration by:

  • enabling administrative independence to better meet local laws, conditions and/or culture
  • lessening the administrative burden and costs on Kingdom by spreading the load and reducing managerial complexities (Kingdom Officers typically have around 30 subordinates to deal with, across 4 or 5 hours in time-zones, three national legal jurisdictions and eight state- or territory-based ones.)
  • reducing the chances of administrative friction and unwanted side-effects from Crown/Kingdom-level decisions which adversely and/or inappropriately affect local groups ie more chance to successfully head poor decisions off at the pass; becoming more of a concern as the Kingdom grows and gets harder to manage
  • addressing increasing complexity and demands as a result of mundane law changes
  • enabling better Officer awareness of local conditions, personalities and operations
  • countering the relative drop in weight or numbers and influence for New Zealanders resulting from growth in Australian groups (a form of “tyranny of distance”)
  • allowing the NZ populace more service opportunities at a mid-level without having to deal with a different set of national laws, requirements, cultural habits and assumptions that a Kingdom-wide role generally requires
  • providing new challenges and opportunities, which may re-excite some long-established/experienced members who don't want to take on the major challenge of Kingdom-wide roles
  • allowing us to establish Principality laws paralleled by amendments to Kingdom Law to give us more in-game autonomy and much more administrative clarity
  • more appropriate alignment with the real-world differences between NZ and Australian jurisdictions, offering automatic recognition of those differences
  • better insulating us from carelessness, poor administration or issues that are peculiar to the Australian context, letting us concentrate on our own local issues and mundane/legal context
  • allowing greater opportunities for locally active and knowledgeable people to provide pastoral care to group officers: specifically helping resolve small issues before they become big ones, aiding cross-pollination, coming up with ideas for sharing our resources for better results, providing encouragement and planning

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Do we have enough members?

Corpora (Oct 19, 2019) says Principalities need to have at least 100 members.

Between 2012 and 2017, NZ had had a stable subscribing adult membership of around 160-170; by early 2020 this had grown to a high of 214.*

This 8-year period was canvassed to see whether NZ’s popular 3-year membership option has affected or inflated paid memberships (as has been suggested); this does not appear to be the case.

Also, New Zealand has not had a strong history of requiring paid memberships, with no waivers, indemnity or insurance necessary. An inexpensive single-event membership cost ($2) and a minors policy different to Australia’s means that we have significant numbers of regular participants who are subscribing members. For example, at Canterbury Faire, event-only memberships typically make up 25-30% of attendees, or around 50+ adults and 30+ minors.

(* Numbers were expected to drop as a result of COVID effects but this does not appear to be the case so far.)

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Can we fill all required Officer positions?

Considerable concern has been raised regarding the ability of New Zealand to provide the extra layer of Principality Officers needed, particularly given commonly-expressed concerns regarding difficulties in filling group officer positions.

When New Zealand first joined Lochac, an Australian advised us to quickly go Principality so we could train ourselves up to be Kingdom Officers one day. By 2010, Kiwis (13% of the Kingdom's populace) held five of the Kingdom Offices, and most years we’ve contributed 3+. As of Feb 2021, there are eight Kiwi Kingdom Officers or Deputies; Kiwis continue to apply for positions.

That’s in addition to 40 years of filling the offices to run two Baronies, a Canton, a Shire, and other groups, as well as the SCANZ governance representatives. True, there typically aren’t long queues of keen people vying for an office, but that has always been the case since the very beginnings of the SCA in NZ back in 1982. And yet, we persist….

A Principality structure could change that for the better. Good Principality officers can listen, respond, inspire, enthuse, plan and provide practical support for local officers. Unlike Kingdom Officers, who deal with broad workloads/geography and often-specifically Australian issues/distractions, local higher officers can focus on the issues and opportunities for NZ groups, and help develop coordinated approaches and solutions. Most importantly, they could do this year after year, producing the same kind of consistent, steady improvements which have helped grow Canterbury Faire - but at group and national level.

This layer of officers could make it easier to find new group officers, not less. That's because issues like recruitment, retention and officer rotation would get meaningful, persistent attention from officers whose job it is to consistently work to lessen such problems, and build on strategic opportunities.

But what if we ended up with the mediocre or ineffectual Principality Officers, which some fear might happen? Then we’d also have a much better context for understanding, recognising and fixing problems, through greater awareness and personal understanding of (and contact with) the individuals involved. Our growing distance-management experience under COVID could even make such regional support and communications easier.

I believe that we are facing a valuable opportunity at present - to noticeably improve the game in New Zealand, to make management (and hence officer roles) easier at Kingdom level and, potentially - at least in the long run - to change the game at the Society level so it is more inclusive and representative than it feels to many of us right now. At all three levels - local, Kingdom and Society - we'd be less likely to be harmed by random cock-ups, competing demands and mishaps, and much better placed for a healthy future. - Master Bartholomew Baskin OP (former Kingdom Seneschal & Landed Baron, Current Deputy KS)

A Principality could encourage greater engagement from those who've taken a step back and would prefer to play in a bigger pond to make a significant difference at a larger level. It’s not uncommon for long-serving Peers and ex-landed B&Bs to take a step back from local affairs, to avoid blocking opportunities for relatively newer and less experienced folk. A Principality gives them somewhere to usefully deploy their skills while growing local experience. (Some such folk have already expressed a willingness to put up their hands for such roles.)

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What Principality Officers would we actually need?

According to Corpora (Section VII.A.3), Principality Officers generally parallel that of the Kingdom. The word generally (my bold) means that a Principality would not require officers beyond Corpora’s standard six – Seneschal, Herald, Marshal, Arts and Sciences, Exchequer and Chronicler – without good reason.

In addition, Corpora does not mandate against people holding multiple Greater/Lesser Officers at Principality level, allowing the potential for some double-ups if desired or necessary. The wisdom of doing this would depend on the actual workload involved, and our approach might evolve over time as we see what works and what we actually need.

In addition to the Kingdom Offices we’ve held (eg Seneschal, Herald, Marshal, Exchequer, Constable, Hospitaller), NZ already has a long-established history of filling national deputy roles: Herald Astrolabe (depending on how it’s been constituted); NZ Deputy Exchequer (when the Kingdom Exchequer is Australian); NZ Lists; NZ Equestrian Deputy; NZ Regional Seneschal (2008-9) and Masonry folk since well before the term "Masonry" was invented.

Kiwis holding Greater Kingdom Offices could obviate the need for the Principality version. Given the reduced responsibilities, several Lesser Principality Offices could be combined, eg A&S and Regalia. There is precedent for various forms of office sharing, eg several SCANZ Treasurers have functioned as NZ Deputy Exchequers in their time.

I see a Principality layer of officers as an opportunity for service, to have a small group of people dedicated to the support and growth of the New Zealand based groups and working together on initiatives that benefit those groups.

  Mistress Aveline Goupil (former Kingdom Constable, current Reporting Deputy to the Kingdom Seneschal)

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What about just having a Regional Seneschal?

In 2008-9, there was a brief attempt to create regional Seneschals, but the role wasn't defined or well-supported; they had no mandate or definition in Kingdom Law; and little or no understanding from the populace or group Seneschals. So they did not prosper.

Given the ever-increasing demands of the Kingdom Seneschal’s role, it may be worth taking another look at that and try to do it better. But that doesn’t offer New Zealand the multiple benefits of a full Principality, the utility of broad national support provided by local Principality Officers, nor any of the in-game benefits of having a Coronet.

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Can we achieve the same benefits with a beefed-up SCANZ (SCANZ+)?

If we beefed up SCANZ we could transfer almost all NZ-wide aspects of SCA Offices to SCANZ counterparts, to deal with all out-of-game/real world tasks and projects. SCANZ, after all, reflects and supports our local legal requirements.

SCANZ is not, however, a day-to-day operational body – it deals with governance. Thus, it may struggle to deliver the level of services that Kingdom and group Officers provide. Demarcation of responsibilities, liability and communications would need to be very clearly defined and adhered to.

This idea would require a lot of process innovation and also additional staff appointed by SCANZ - which resurfaces one of main concerns about forming a Principality - how to get additional administrative support? Most importantly, it would also require a major deviation from known SCA and Kingdom operating processes and reporting chains. So, in effect, adding a novel layer of Officers – arguably equivalent to a Principality - under unusual operating circumstances and without any of the in-game benefits.

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What are the barriers to Officer recruitment and how can we reduce them?

When Offices are discussed, the conversation tends to focus – often solely – on the negative aspects and difficulties of the job. It is not common to hear any positive aspects, whether enhancement of a service ethic; improving experience and CV-relatable skills; contributing to group guidance and governance; working with good teams and forming valuable networks and relationships; satisfaction in seeing growth and development for groups, people and events.

Under a Principality it would be easier to develop a national focus on lessening perceived negatives and barriers to taking up Offices, such as outlined below. Many are already under development now at Kingdom level due to inspiration and impetus from the initial Principality discussions - but local implementation would benefit from the strategic structure and mandate that a Principality, and the pathway to it, could provide.

Addressing these issues is one example of non-regretful action, where we can take action towards a possible goal and gain important benefits regardless of whether we get there or not (concept courtesy of Master Bernard Stirling).

What are the barriers and responses to taking up an office?

  • financial: I can’t afford SCA membership ($30/3 years):
    • call for/offer private membership sponsorships (offered already in SG)
    • offer as event raffle prize or other appropriate group funding
  • transport: I can’t get to meetings or events
    • have designated transport people willing to help; call for offers of assistance
    • have a deputy assigned to go/take notes etc
    • actively assess physical locations eg on public transport routes, accessibility
    • (may be less of an issue post-COVID with more online meeting capabilities)
  • lack of information: I don’t know what is required
    • make role descriptions publicly available, in ads and notices (now done, see )

  • workload: I probably don’t have the time or the experience
    • identify basic requirements and time generally needed to fulfil those

   (well under way at Kingdom level, being rolled out to groups)

    • encourage focus and support structures
    • strengthen support for deputy or mentoring roles
    • encourage managed handovers to clearly identify responsibilities
    • develop support systems for workload management
    • support regular training sessions or role-based gatherings and develop
    • support groups and networks especially at national level

        (LOTS 2 has just been undertaken, LOTS More is in early planning)

    • encourage administrative-focused Collegia classes to help up-skill, or make use of relevant local body/NGO resources, education and support services
  • recognition: What’s in it for me?
    • encourage local/Coronet recognition from simple thank-yous to formal awards
    • develop CV-appropriate descriptions covering SCA service
  • criticism: People are really mean and I’m just a volunteer
    • active mentoring to provide support and awhi, discourage incivility
    • develop coping strategies and promulgate them
    • calling out discourteous behaviour and developing training/resources on how to give/deal with criticism or challenging behaviour, as well as how to listen and act positively to criticism (some resources already completed; see  )

    • encouraging and modeling courteous interaction, particularly on social media encouraging active support and appreciation of volunteer service
  • negativity bias: The whole officer thing is just awful
    • encourage Officers (and former Officers) to recognise and mention positive aspects of their role in ads and job descriptions and while undertaking their  activities and reports (under way)
    • remind Officers that they may be jaded or near burn-out coming to the end of their term and they need to be careful not to let that colour hand-over
    • develop recognition strategies (see above)
  • office capture: So-and-so has put their hand up and is more experienced/a Peer/better known than me; Everyone just takes one step to the left
    • encourage long-serving Officers to take a break, not just to renew themselves, but to allow space for others to have a chance
    • actively promote the awareness that new/change/different is not necessarily a bad thing and that there may well be advantages in trying someone or something new
    • actively shoulder-tap new Officers by identifying in-coming people who may already have relevant skills (eg for Reeve) or special interests (eg Captain of Archers)
    • promulgate the idea that it’s desirable that more than one person applies, so there is no need to drop out just because someone has gotten in first
    • run Officer workshops targeted at those who have never held an Office
    • make sure advertising is clear and widespread so that potential new Officers know what is required (see job descriptions link earlier)

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Can we get a name and device registered with the College of Arms?

We have the heraldic ability and experience to develop, consult and decide on this.

This is often cited by groups as the most difficult/contentious point of going Principality, with tricky timing and sometimes significant delays in the process, so is something that should be tackled early on if a decision is made to proceed.

A preliminary form could, for example, be polled for acceptance and used as a regional populace badge or held for when required (an over-long delay would likely require a new acceptance poll for the heraldry as part of the formal bid process, but that’s easy).

Earlier discussions have been held on possible registerable names for New Zealand, see this name subset and this much longer set canvassed in 2005-2008.

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Is there a consensus favouring advancement across the relevant membership?

In the initial informal survey nearly 60% of SCANZ members responded (58.02%), plus an additional 14 non-members. Of these (Q2):

  • 57% thought that a NZ Principality was a good idea
  • 20% thought it wasn’t
  • 23% were not sure

Of the 92 people who provided additional comments (Q3), the most positive mentions concerned:

  • greater focus and growth, and better administration (14 mentions)
  • greater accessibility to Crown in both competing for and interacting with (10)
  • the chance to propose an alternative selection process (5)

The most negative comments concerned:

  • a lack of active members or small numbers (9)
  • the potential for political infighting and friction, including concerns about the likely dominance of Southron Gaard (9)
  • an inability to fill the required Principality Offices (6)

The opportunity for more pageantry was mentioned as a positive by four respondents, and was actively disliked by two.

We need to ensure involvement of people at all levels, significant discussion and feedback. Given the fracturing of communication channels in recent years, building and testing a consensus is likely to need dedicated attention and management.

The formal poll (which comes very late in the process after much discussion and consultation) must be found acceptable by the Kingdom Seneschal. For earlier consultation and planning, informal online surveys can be easily developed.

(See Where to from Here? and the NZ Principality Roadmap; also Survey Analysis of the preliminary indicative survey of Dec 2020-Jan 2021).

It will be important to encourage participation to be as widespread as possible across all NZ groups and all levels of membership for greatest representation (ie to check this, the formal poll should ask for SCA group, title/rank or year of joining).

As the formal poll concerns a significant change in status, it would need to have a high level of participation and reflect current opinion as at the time of polling (ie so it would have “yes”, “no” or “no opinion” options, but not allow for “not yet/maybe later”).

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Can we demonstrate a record of well-attended events together with regular study or guild meetings, demonstrations, and other educational activities for the benefit of the members and the community at large

No problems with that – we’ve been doing this throughout New Zealand for almost 40 years. A basic listing of combined group calendars with representative numbers and commentary would demonstrate this, especially once Crown events are included.

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Do we have sufficient members of the orders conferring Patents of Arms to foster the development of those orders and the skills they represent within the Principality

As of October 2020, New Zealand has 48 individuals who are Peers, with around 24% of them being double+ Peers; around 92% are currently active to various degrees within the SCA. The Peers are evenly spread between the North and South Islands, at 24 each.

(For comparison, on debut, the Principality of Lochac had just 16 Peers.)

Every year, Canterbury Faire – and other events which the Crown makes it to – typically has meetings of all four Patent Orders and supports a number of elevations across the Peerages. Kiwis have served as Clerks of every Order, and NZ has second-generation Peers (ie ones who were themselves mentored by local Peers).

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Do we have sufficient fighters of such calibre as to provide appropriate competition?

Other groups seeking advancement have been disadvantaged by low heavy fighter numbers (see References). It would be highly detrimental to the SCA in NZ if that proves to be the case here, particularly as some of the factors are well outside our control.

(Updated Mar '21): NZ currently has 33 authorised fighters in total, with around 8-15 regularly attending fighters’ practices at three locations (Ildhafn, Darton and Southron Gaard). Opinions vary as to whether this cadre is sufficient and/or adequate and what can be done to strengthen it - a positive sign is that numbers are up by around 20% in recent months.

As background, since 2015 Lochac has elevated, on average, 2.2 knights per year (half Atlantia’s knightings; twice Drachenwald’s); there were no Kiwi knights in that period. In 40 years, New Zealand has had 11 knights; 5 of these dubbed prior to 2002, the most recent in 2012. Of the nine NZ knights remaining engaged in the SCA, 3-4 attend fighters’ practices; one knight has participated in Crown Tournaments in the past five years.

Heavy numbers have remained reasonably stable, averaging around 26 per year from 2018-2020. (NB the three-year authorisation period makes it tricky to track trends over that short time frame; Canterbury Faire skews numbers at the beginning of the year.) Of the 28 authorised heavies in the year to February 2020 (so now a bit out of date), the regional breakdown was:

Ildhafn                       0*         no authorised heavy fighters since 2016; this has now changed

Cluain                          5         including 2 in 16-18 age range, no knights

Darton                         4         one knight

Southron Gaard       19        including the only first-time authorisation in this period

Ildhafn City (Auckland) accounts for a third of NZ’s population but has long had difficulties in developing and maintaining any heavy fighting; the three adults authorised in Cluain are spread between Hamilton (2) and Tauranga (1). For a long period before Feb 2021, neither group has regular fighters’ practice; Ildhafn now has one. Darton has a weekly practice; SG has weekly heavy practices and a monthly tourney, with roughly 8-12 fighters attending. Clearly SG would heavily dominate a rattan-based Coronet, which is a major and potentially divisive concern.

This situation reflects a number of factors:

  • New Zealand’s low participation density (33 authorised fighters spread over a country the size of Italy) makes it difficult to gain experience or varied opponents
  • difficulty in gaining experience and renown across Kingdom without significant outlay on regular international travel and associated costs (with COVID, currently impossible)
  • the relative cost of gearing up for heavy combat, and the high economic disparity between Australia and New Zealand making Crown economically unviable for most NZ contenders, eg average annual salaries: AU $91k, NZ $52k (both in NZ$)
  • relative lack of access to resources

A post-COVID world may exacerbate all those factors.

A Principality could galvanise some improvement* to this situation by drawing older/inactive fighters back and encouraging new ones to train harder. And it may be possible to use this to develop a stronger rattan-based culture through organised outreach and training, active recruitment drives with strong support mechanisms, and more focused higher-level development. But that all requires a strong, sustained drive and support. If that doesn’t happen and we cannot get a dispensation for an Alternate Selection Process, then that is likely to have a very detrimental long-term effect on the SCA in New Zealand.

In Lochac, Crown Tourney lists typically range from 7 to 15, depending on where they are held; the 2017-2019 average was 12.3 - not including Crown Tourneys held at Festival, which are outliers. In the most recent NZ-based Crown Tournament (May 2019, Darton), the local field included one knight and six experienced heavy fighters in a total list of 12 combatants.

(* there is evidence of improvement in the past year, with more knights attending fighters practices and a ten-week heavy training workshop that commenced in Ildhafn in Feb 2021)

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Can we produce a body of Principality Law which provides for the maintenance and succession of the Coronet, and for any other matters delegated or permitted by the parent Kingdom?

This will require considerable discussion, particularly relating to that of any alternative succession process, but we have plenty of examples to follow (see References), and more than enough people well-experienced in developing such material.

NB an approved final draft needs to accompany the formal petition.

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What are the risk factors?

We will need to ensure throughout any subsequent discussions, survey/poll steps and development to get broad representation and buy-in throughout New Zealand, to avoid any sense of a Principality being the project or brainchild of any one household or clique (e.g. an uber-Southron Gaard).

We need to be careful about statements of facts and clearly identify opinions, and listen to the range of views. While much of the discussion may be based on opinion, we need to bear in mind how much of that is informed by experience and example.

We will need to carefully manage any further development of the concept to produce something acceptable and forward-looking.

We need to strengthen our Officer training and support, as well as the methods or fields that we may depend upon to make our Coronet selection.

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Can we have an Alternative Selection Process other than/in addition to rattan combat?

This could be a major sticking point as, for many at the CF meetings, in the casual survey and elsewhere, an Alternative Selection Process (ASP) was strongly supported when considering progressing to Principality.

The view was that without having such there would be less point in becoming a Principality, despite the other opportunities and benefits the move could provide. And a number remarked that, without the greater inclusivity such a move would confer, they would be likely to reduce involvement and gradually drift away from the SCA.

Given this strong interest, it is important to continue discussing what kind of ASP can garner the widest support, while maintaining SCA culture so that a Principality bid can recognise and reflect it.

The ASP concept was based on a strong desire for a more inclusive, broader-based method of choosing a Coronet than simply by the traditional rattan combat at present specifically required for Royal Lists (further discussion below). Such a move was considered vital to attract new people, energise current members and chart a more culturally appropriate way forward.

It was strongly felt that societal changes regarding inclusivity, diversity and franchise need to be responded to in order to maintain the SCA’s good standing – particularly given widespread publicity regarding a few overseas incidences of very poor behaviour in this regard. Allowing an Alternative Selection Process would provide a very clear opportunity to make an important adaptation to strengthen the Society’s position for the future.

NZ is ideally placed to provide a geographically isolated test ground for the opportunities proffered by the non-standard class of organization already permitted in our affiliation agreement with the SCA US (more on this aspect below). We are already used to doing this as a society and have an adaptable, forward-looking populace, used to managing change carefully and capably.

In the casual survey, when asked if they liked or agreed with a heavy-only selection process (Q4):

  • 58% said no
  • 27% said yes
  • 15% were not sure

(All 137 respondents answered this question and also the following one (Q5) on their reaction to including an alternative selection process in a Principality proposal).

Almost 22% would only support a proposal which included an alternative selection process; 49% said they would like such an inclusion (total: 71%).

Eight percent would not support a proposal containing an alternative selection process, and a further 10% would not like it (total: 18%).

Eleven percent were not sure.

Almost 100 respondents made comments on the current heavy-only selection process (Q6) with by far the most common concern being the exclusivity involved (44 mentions), and its inappropriateness as a selection tool or lack of representation of the broader aspects of the SCA (15).

The ageing population of heavies and their over-representation in Southron Gaard was a concern mentioned 10 and 5 times respectively, often in conjunction with the need to provide a broader selection method.

SCA tradition was a strong reason given for support for heavy combat selection (10), along with the way that the uniqueness of SCA heavy combat provides an eligibility criterion for reigning, reducing the chance of walk-in victors (5).

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Is there any chance for an Alternative Selection Process to be approved under current rules?

Corpora (2019, IX.C pg 37) states that rattan combat is the only permissible way to contest Crown or Coronet:

C. Royal Lists

Only Chivalric (rattan) combat shall be used for formal tournament lists for royal ranks.

In another area on Selection of Royalty, Corpora appears to provide some support for negotiation on this point, clause IV.A.1 stating:

Crowns or Coronets who wish to conduct a royal list in a manner other than individual combat must obtain the prior approval of the Board of Directors

That could suggest some wiggle room, particularly if combined with the clause in the current Operating Agreement between the SCA Inc (US) and SCANZ Inc (10.1.5 Delegation of Authority, 2014) which specifically delegates to SCANZ the ability to:

…authorize a branch or group of branches to experiment with a non-standard class of organization. Any such authorization is specific to the branch obtaining it.

So we could try to argue for a non-standard class of Principality chosen in a manner other than individual combat.

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What are possible alternative selection processes?

  • Champion format

Permitting a heavy fighter to represent a couple; could bring in more fighters and broaden the Coronet pool, but remains rattan-only and does not address the issues of low heavy numbers or Southron Gaard’s likely problematic dominance of a rattan-based selection. (This format was originally proposed by Count Henri de Montferrant to  address low participation in Lochac Crown Tournaments.) This could be applied to any of the alternative selection formats where appropriate.

  • Triple prowess

Rotate tourneys sequentially through heavy, rapier and target archery forms over each term; this allows for a definitive outcome, maintains the prowess focus but broadens the field to enable far greater participation. This would also enable a much more diverse contender base in skills, gender and geography, but still has exclusivity aspects.

A variant (not that popular) was to run the three prowess tournaments simultaneously and have the Coronet drawn at random from the three winners. Or assign scores and allow entrants to enter as many of the tourneys as they wanted with the final total determining the outcome; this would require a multi-day event.

These formats could also be interleaved with a voting or lottery variant to allow non-athletic people a chance at the coronet.

  • A&S championship

Would boost A&S participation rates and potentially tap a wider group depending on how organised; generally this option is not very popular due to major judging/criteria difficulties which are foreseen.

Given the large number of A&S categories undertaken, there were suggestions that an A&S approach should be equally common, if not much more so, than the prowess-based competitions and could cycle through different major subject areas to account for that (eg brewing, embroidery, C&I, garb etc).

  • A voting system or a lottery or combination thereof

Indicative voting is part of the B&B selection process already. Concerns raised about the potential for populist capture.

A lottery has the advantage of a no-blame outcome, but its randomness does lead to concerns. That could be ameliorated by ensuring a strong pre-selection round to require participation requirements (eg x attendance at events/practices in previous year; residency; office served, A&S entries etc) in addition to being acceptable to the Crown.

A combination of voting and lottery can be designed to reduce factional voting, encourage broad participation, establish some appropriate pre-qualifiers, mirror some period practices etc; would need careful development and communications.

  • a Venetian Voting System – the Coronet Ballot

A chance-based (lot) and choice-based (vote) decisions can be fruitfully combined – and have been in period – to get the best out of each process. Some discussion has been had concerning the Venetian Voting System which has been developed (informed by a lot of academic research and much discussion) to provide a fair, fun and period-based way to address proportionality, influence, experience and inclusion, while remaining manageable, allowing for regular turnover and reducing effects from undue influence, populism, vested interests or voting blocks, as well as providing a certain frisson and opportunity for theatre.

So we start with a Coronet-Investiture event and a Council of Electors formed from:

Sitting Representatives (office-based)

4 Seneschals or their representatives (Ildhafn, Cluain, Darton, Southron Gaard)

2 Baronial representatives (ie Baron/ess of Ildhafn, Southron Gaard)

1 Crown/outgoing-Coronet representative

Group Representatives (Citizen Electors proportional to group numbers – fairest approach though others could be used)

5 from Southron Gaard, including Gildenwick and Wildmoor

3 from Ildhafn including Cluain

2 from Darton including Shearwater

The Group Representatives could be randomly drawn by lot from those attending the event, or we allow intra-group cultural variation by saying each group gets to choose how they’ll identify their Citizen Electors beforehand or at the event (eg could be a Baronial Champion, the newest signed-up member, their highest Order of Precedence attending, winner of a scissors-paper-stone tourney, oldest representative....).

At 17 or so people, the Council is big enough to have internal checks and balances. It includes people who are necessarily highly engaged in our game (the Sitting Representatives) and thus presumably have significant SCA experience, while the random draws at Group level allow for even the newest member to have the chance to make a mark. The Electors would also change each time and over time, reducing power bases and overt influence while allowing for some institutional memory.

Every group would be fairly represented: as Hamlets become fully fledged groups, their independence can be recognised and representatives added.

(NB under this outline, Cluain and Ildhafn should be treated as separate groups - but just now their numbers are inconveniently close to even, giving them 1.5 people each which is, er, awkward; they can argue between themselves who gets the extra Elector…)


The Law would have clauses on requirements for entering for the Coronet ballot; acceptability to the Crown being one. The run-up to the Coronet-Investiture could include requiring Letters of Intent and/or local meetings, providing a basic profile for the Council of Electors. All, one hopes, offering chances for playing the game, theatre and (fun) drama.

Voting Process

The Council of Electors retires with a list of the Coronet contenders.

  • The names are put into an urn, then one set drawn out and discussed.

In contrast to a prowess tournament, this lets the qualities of both partners in each set to be taken into account. Electors would swear beforehand to keep all discussions, votes and outcomes secret (offering further opportunity for ceremony).

  • Everyone votes on that pair: yes/no/no-opinion (eg by dropping tokens in a jar).  

From here, there are a number of ways to proceed:

  1. If all (or two-thirds, or 75%) votes are in favour, voting is over, the Coronet is chosen.

If not, then a second name is drawn and so on until the threshold is reached.


  1. the Electors continue through all the candidates, discussing and voting on every pair.

If any fail to get support from a basic majority of Electors, then they are eliminated.

If only one set gets all approvals, they win.

If none gets full/threshold levels of approval, or more than one set does, then:

  1. choose the Coronet by lot (ie draw out one set from the remainder)

OR      (b) vote on the remaining sets; the Coronet goes to the most votes.

Experts say this “approval” system creates the highest degree of sincere representation, encouraging reduced bias and greater open-mindedness in considering candidates. It avoids split votes, thus reducing the chance of ending up with the least-acceptable as winner; it limits wasted or spoiler votes; allows more say; and reduces the likelihood of ties.

The question is not who is my favourite?  as with a one-vote system, but can I support this candidate?  Hence the inclination towards acceptability.

In a first-approval system, a loss is not necessarily a rejection as it might mean someone else gained full approval before your name was even seen. This might be a good way to address the potential for friction and resentment in any polling system. This could also be gained by including a random step whereby a Coronet is chosen through a random draw from a set of candidates.

The period Venetian combined lot-voting system is cited by experts as a sophisticated means of managing the worst aspects of choosing a leader, noting that it contributed to La Serenissima’s stability for half a millennium.

Pageantry and Pomp

It would be possible to create a whole range of theatre, pageantry and pomp around this – the Venetians provide some good period examples, as do the Papal elections and those of the Florentine Signoria, not to mention the spectacles around the Imperial Election of the Holy Roman Emperor or the County Palatine of the Rhine.

Letters of intent and invocation courts, splendour and seriousness, history and heraldry can all be brought to bear to give the occasion the gravitas that it deserves. The populace gets to have games, dances, tournaments while the Electors deliberate.  Then comes the Announcement, the Investiture and much rejoicing.

  • Auction

Sell the Coronet to the highest bidder or consortium. Straight-forward but seen as a tad mundane (despite Holy Roman Emperor precedents), more problematically as unfair/inequitable

  • Wait-listed

Put your name down and join the queue; could take some time. What happens is you have to drop out temporarily; who gets first dibs…

In the initial casual survey almost 90 people commented on alternative selection processes (Q7), covering alternating martial combat (eg heavy, rapier, target archery; two mentioned combat archery) as well as A&S, service requirements, lottery, vote, Venetian-style vote+lottery, chess....The main aims focused on achieving greater inclusiveness and selection for leadership-appropriate skills/experience.

NB: Levels of inclusiveness available under various alternative selection systems (based on SCA NZ and Kingdom figures, not survey responses):

  • Current rattan-only eligibility: 14% of paid SCANZ membership
  • Triple-prowess (ie heavy, rapier, archery rotating): estimated 55%+
  • Voting/lottery system: 100%

Rotation to allow greater levels of inclusivity and to select on non-athletic skills/experience was important for many. Of 137 respondents to Q8, the preferred or strongly preferred approach was:

  • 59% for rotation through various (undefined) fields
  • 32% for rotation through triple-prowess (ie heavy, rapier, archery)
  • 25% for heavy-only scored (second-bottom, above pure lottery at 19%)

NB: the Venetian-style vote+lottery system was not included in the Q8 options, but had around a dozen positive mentions in the comments. Being able to select a clear winner was important and was a problem identified with the more subjective judging involved in an A&S selection (though this was also not an option in Q8).

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What is not wanted in a selection format?

People tended to be not sure about what process they wanted at this stage – more discussion required – but were able to articulate some things they didn’t want, such as:

  • anything prone to clique capture or popularity contests
  • a focus on ableist selection to the exclusion of all others
  • not just rattan-based
  • a process which has no way to take into account experience at governance, leadership, competency

In general the comments focused on the desire for inclusivity rather than a reaction against rattan per se. See further discussion and commentary from the Dec 2020 casual survey.

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How could such a change in selection future-proof the SCA?

We could alternate between any of the above, or propose an experimental period trying different formats (eg 3-5 years), feeding back information and analysis as to what worked and what didn’t. As a small isolated set of groups, with considerable experience in the SCA and externally in analytical and strategic roles, we are well placed to undertake that sort of path.

After almost 40 years, NZ groups have a strong SCA culture and traditions. A change in selection process is not seen as doing any kind of disservice or dishonour to the wider SCA in the Known Worlde - simply acknowledging that it is time to reassess how we play in that World after half a century, and how we can strengthen and enhance it for the future.  An NZ Principality modelling a working SCA structure which has high levels of equity and inclusiveness could have very beneficial flow-on effects for the rest of the Kingdom and elsewhere.

The opportunity for a change in culture and structure, particularly with widespread populace involvement in its development, means we get to have a say in what we want to become. That seemed inspirational for many and a major attraction. As one member said any model where any member in good standing can aspire one day to rule brings more honour yet!

Such a move will require significant discussion before we collectively settle on an acceptable process to submit. But Kiwis are well-versed in being adaptable and working together. We’ve also clearly demonstrated throughout the past 200 years a persistent and successful determination to be early adopters on the Right Side of History.

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How could going Principality affect our relationship with the Crown and Kingdom?

A Coronet may be more accessible to NZ groups and provide greater opportunity for additional pageantry, local awards and recognition, but there are fears that a Principality would mean less interaction from Crown (and Australians in general), fewer local Crown events and reduced Kiwi entries into Crown Tournaments.

The question of interaction is of greatest concern (there’s nothing to stop Kiwis hosting or entering Crown events just because we’re in a Principality, and it might even boost participation). But will having a local Coronet lead to feeling of greater separation from the Kingdom as a whole, with reduced interaction from the Crown and Australians in general?

That’s likely to vary a lot, partly on who is Crown and Their interests or availability, partly on our ability to continue to produce events that Crown/Australians want/need to come to.

Viscount Duncan Kerr (former Prince of Insulae Draconis, ex-SG) said he thought Insulae Draconis had a closer relationship to their Crown for having gone Principality 10 years ago, and also more interest and involvement from the wider populace of the Kingdom of Drachenwald as a result.

So the enhanced status and capability provided by Insulae Draconis (the UK, Ireland and Iceland) being a Principality generated more interest from the rest of their Kingdom (Europe, Scandinavia, South Africa), not less. We could well find the same, especially if we develop a national strategy to counter such disengagement.

For some people the prospect of having more Royal courts under a Principality was itself seen as a negative, to which came the response: not having this available doesn't actually affect your enjoyment of the game because you can choose not to attend Court. For those of us who do like it, its absence does impact our enjoyment.

One of the things we need to think about and possibly research is how do groups manage having local Crowns/Coronets – it’s not something we’ve ever had to contend with and could well have a major impact on our groups. With only four major groups we are likely to have a semi-continuous Royal presence and this has implications for how the Baronies function (eg separation of Royal and Baronial courts, implications of precedence etc); also how Cantons and Shires function in terms of recognition of the Coronet. Discussion of expectations and management before we get there will be helpful to identify any concerns, develop strategies, find ways of relieving pressure points etc.

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What’s a good reign period?

Like many things, this is largely up to the populace to discuss and decide. Preliminary discussions, including with Viscount Duncan Kerr, indicated support for a reign period of 9 months with a joint Coronet-Investiture event for selection and change-over.

A nine-month term was seen as providing a suitable timeframe to:

  • permit travel and Principality-level projects or development to be undertaken without undue haste/exhaustion (a not-uncommon problem for six-month Crowns)
  • be able to spread Coronet-Investiture events across NZ groups for a once-every-3-year commitment, developing experience and avoiding burn-out within groups Bear in mind the tendency for Kiwis to travel and regular group events across New Zealand make it more likely there will be more frequent, less-formal visits around the country.
  • the event will cycle through the year so would not be tied into any major group recurring event (eg specifically not tied to Canterbury Faire) avoiding group capture
  • allow some persistent institutional memory for when Crown itself changes on its shorter six-month cycle; this has value for both sets of Royals and Kingdom itself
  • allow sufficient scheduling gaps to permit groups to continue to bid for Kingdom-level events without them stepping on Coronet events or causing undue pressure; there would be nothing to stop a well-thought-out bid doubling up in some cases (eg Bal d’Argent and a Coronet)

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What resources are needed to support a Principality and do we have them?

There will be costs involved in establishing and supporting a Principality. The SCA in New Zealand has the financial resources and management experience to afford this.

Approximate levels of group funds as reported by SCANZ (31 March 2020), show:

Ildhafn:                      $8,214                        Cluain:                       $5,913

Darton:                       $8,139                        Southron Gaard:    $25,222 *

SCA NZ:                 $26, 750 

In addition, SCA NZ Inc. holds $13,000 in Kingdom funds primarily tagged for support of an NZ Crown to avoid losses due to exchange/transfer rates. (NB this does not automatically mean it could be used to support a Coronet, though that might be negotiable in part.)

So as of 31 March 2020, the NZ group balance was almost $49,000, up from $28,000 a decade earlier; SCANZ’s $26,750 was up from $12,700 in 2010. NZ can well afford to support likely establishment and running costs

* There are sometimes comments that the SG accounts usually reflect an inflated balance due to income from Canterbury Faire sitting in the account; but checks against the Barony’s ledger balances for May, July and September 2019 (including a CF balance report and avoiding the CF income period) show $25K to be a rough standing average).

Establishment Costs

These would entirely depend on what is decided on as necessary up-front costs, less possible gifting/donations or specific fund-raising efforts. With a likely 2-4 year planning timeframe, these should be easy to manage.

Possible establishment cost areas

Coronets                                                        $4,000            high-end, could be as low as $100

Regalia eg rings, robes, fealty chains      $2,000            as above

Pageantry: eg thrones, banners               $1,000            optional, or use group assets

On-going Costs: Travel

The main on-going cost for a Principality is likely to be a travel subsidy for the Coronet. The Coronet/Investiture event/s would be obligatory attendance on the part of the incumbents; if combined would be a single event at the end of a Coronet reign. Other travel could be planned around road trips, flight discount periods and suchlike.

Current Kingdom policy allows $4,500 per Crown reign with $1,125 of that permitted for inter-Kingdom travel (generally used for attending Pennsic). Actual Crown travel costs are significantly more, covered personally and sometimes assisted with group donations (eg Canterbury Faire tallage).                

For an NZ Principality, shorter distances and lower transportation costs, as well as group donations/assistance, should help keep travel costs down, even allowing for potentially higher costs post-COVID. Looking forward, if carbon offsets become a thing, then reducing long flights could have monetary (as well as environmental) benefits for the Kingdom.

Ballpark annual travel subsidy: $500-1,000 – plus local tallages if offered

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Where do we go from here?

Based on the CF and surrounding discussions, we seem to have the following responses:

  • A significant minority who thought a Principality of some form was worth attempting, once there was sufficient local consensus
  • A larger number – possibly a plurality -- who felt it wouldn't affect their game much but would be supportive if it improved things for their friends and/or the wider group
  • A few who weren't sure of their own position, but thought it good to continue talking because it might generate ideas to help improve our/their current situation
  • Some who thought that there were more important things to do first; most commonly mentioned were recruitment and officer training/rotation/retention
  • Some who thought that the obvious negatives – mostly expressed in terms of extra officers and/or workload – would outweigh any hoped-for positives

A lot of further discussion will be needed, but here’s a possible pathway, likely to take 2-4 years or more, depending on responses. (See Master Bartholomew’s Roadmap for a quick handy flow-chart and some text covering this path in more detail.)

We take a casual survey to see if there is sufficient interest to develop the concept

This casual survey has already happened, in late 2020. Although it didn't commit us to anything, it has shown demonstrable interest to start the real work, likely to require a steering committee and designated action, deadlines, ultimately support from SCANZ and Kingdom etc.

We embark on more discussion, formation of working groups, feedback and iterations, to develop a Principality bid covering things like:

  • Draft timeline and waypoints
  • FAQ covering structure and process
  • Identifying requirements for Coronet participation (eg residency, activity etc)
  • Draft Laws, support statement by SCA NZ; support statement from Kingdom (specifically Crown and Seneschal), including notes of any proposed changes to Kingdom Law that may be required to accommodate Principality Law
  • Communications with Kingdom, SCA US Lochac liaison officer
  • Develop name/s and heraldry for public consultation and polling
  • Alternative Selection Process discussion and development with populace, Kingdom; preliminary polling, support statement for this special feature from SCA NZ Inc, potentially also SCA Australia Ltd

Then request a formal poll to indicate support, covering specific aspects of the bid

including laws, selection process and name/heraldry

Major campaign needed to get high levels of participation and response

If “no”, then no further action

If “yes”, then the real fun begins as we start the transition

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Where can I read more…

Official Information

  • Corpora (Oct 19, 2019)

See especially p16 and p23

  • Current Affiliation Agreement between SCANZ and SCA US

  • On Principalities  

See especially "Principalities as a permanent part of the Kingdom" and "Principalities as a stepping stone to a new Kingdom".


Examples and other Discussion Documents

  • Aelthelmarc’s Principality Meeting Report (AEstel Nov 1988, pg 6-14 onwards):

  • Avacal's poll to go from Principality to Kingdom, mid-process:

  • Crown Principality Requirements 2003

Pros and Cons:


  • Northern Shores Regional Principality Polling Informational Leaflet, East Kingdom, 2008:

Excellent 12-page summary by Master Gilbert the Short

  • Tir Righ (An Tir):

Handy outline of the process and pitfalls

  • Bartholomew’s Roadmap of an NZ Principality discussion and decision process

Principality Laws

  • Cynagua (West)



  • Insulae Draconis (Drachenwald)


  • The Summits


  • Mists  (West)



Lord and Lady of the Mists

  • Nordmark (Drachenwald)

2009 :

9 month, Coronet Tourney with Investiture

requires each couple to hand in an A&S project at the Coronet Tourney

  • Oertha (West)


Analyses of Election, Lottery and Voting Processes

Some interesting academic analysis of a broad range of election/choice systems (eg ecclesiastical, academic etc) and various ways of going about it here:

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