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New Zealand Folk Music
Geoff Grainger
Last updated: 26.02.22

fernleaf15.gif Songs from the Southern Seas! fernleaf15.gif

The expression "New Zealand Folk Music" doesn't really mean anything to a European and I wonder whether the animal actually exists. Whilst on a very brief but wonderful visit to relatives in NZ in 1994 (Auckland and Wellington) my impression was that Irish music was alive and well, both in Wellington and Auckland. One lasting impression was that of watching a slightly inebriated Maori lady at an Irish Pub in Auckland joining in the fun but at the same time using traditional Maori hand and body movements.
With the recent (1997) furore over the "Spice Girls" and their "Haka" (Ka mate! Ka mate! (Maori Haka)) enraging the Maori community, it is with some trepidation that I provide the following list gleaned from Solid Gold Maori Songs.
After returning to Germany, I persuaded one Steffi Lubrich to sing the named songs, accompanied by myself on the concertina - and fine songs they are, too . So a message to you Maoris down under. Please don't get uptight; in this global village music belongs to everybody and a "fine song" is a "fine song".

Since writing the above in 1997, I have found a few interesting sites in New Zealand but have still not found anything like, say, an NZ equivalent of Irish or Australian folk music. On my visit to Auckland in 1994 I also acquired The Great New Zealand Songbook which I found very interesting. Without wanting to offend anybody the songs seem to be, however for the greater part, adaptations of Australian or British folk songs and folk-tunes and do not appear to have a genuine New Zealand (meaning British colonisers) character. Not yet having heard a New Zealander folk singer singing these songs my opinion is of course provisional and I will be delighted to change my mind. There is of course Maori music a-plenty.
For a genuine real live New Zealand folk-singer why not look-in on Dexter N. Muir who gives the lyrics of his large wide ranging repertoire. The absolute Maori music website is to be found at John Archer's Waiata Maori Song

Geoff Grainger, Bremen-Vegesack, January 2001

  Title Composer Performer Instruments
  DBE MP3 Sample   
audiodbemp315.gif Hine e hine (Maori Lullaby) Geoff Grainger Voice, Concertina
     Title Audio Files Remarks
fernleaf15.gif Epo i tai tai eh!   nlyrics.gif
fernleaf15.gif Haere mai (Song of Welcome)   nlyrics.gif
fernleaf15.gif Hine e hine (Maori Lullaby)  audiodbemp315.gif nlyrics.gif
fernleaf15.gif Ka mate! Ka mate! (Maori Haka)   nlyrics.gif
fernleaf15.gif Now is the hour   nlyrics.gif
fernleaf15.gif Pokarekare (A Maori Love Song)   nlyrics.gif
fernleaf15.gif Walking on my feet   nlyrics.gif

Folkenz   finds NZ folksongs, folkies, recordings and folk concerts

Folkenz searches about 800 pages on 12 New Zealand Folk sites, containing song lyrics, artist, club and concert information. |

     Title Performer Composer
youtube15.jpg Epo i tai tai eh! (1:12) Girl Guides in New Zealand Traditional
youtube15.jpg Geordie Haka (1:01) Graeme Fisher Memorial Rugby Game
youtube15.jpg Haere mai (Song of Welcome) (2:54) Marie Te Hapuku
youtube15.jpg Hine e hine (Maori Lullaby) (4:32) Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
youtube15.jpg Ka mate! Ka mate! (Maori Haka) (1:17) Dances of Life
youtube15.jpg Now is the hour (3:16) Vera Lynn
youtube15.jpg Pö Atarau (Now is the hour) (2:41) St Joseph's Maori Girls' College
youtube15.jpg Pokarekare (A Maori Love Song) (3:01) Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
youtube15.jpg The "Geordie Haka" (0:55) George Taylor
youtube15.jpg  Walking on my feet (2:26) Des Rainy