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Good-bye Maoriland: Music and World War One

Good-bye Maoriland: Music and World War One

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  • Wed 18 May ’16, 12:10pm – 1:00pm


National Library of New Zealand, 70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

This talk by Chris Bourke looks at the musical responses in New Zealand to the First World War: amateur and professional music-making, published and informal song-writing, its purpose and its impact. While the war effort is regarded as pivotal to the country’s sense of identity, much of the musical evidence confirms Britain was still Home.

Some songwriters, however, identified with Maoriland as they tried to write a popular song that expressed loyalty to the cause and support to the troops. Over 200 songs were published, including the hits ‘Good Old New Zealand’ and ‘Sons of New Zealand’. But they were almost forgotten the moment the war ended. It is the "soldiers' songs" and especially songs written by Māori during the war period that have lasted.

Chris Bourke, the 2015 Douglas Lilburn research fellow at the Alexander Turnbull Library, is currently writing a book about New Zealand music during World War One. He is the author of Blue Smoke: the Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music 1918-1964 (AUP, 2010).

Image: March song. Good-bye Maoriland, words and music by Raymond Hope (Christchurch: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1914). Alexander Turnbull Library.

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