Mudcat Café message #1242930 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #72264   Message #1242930
Posted By: Shanghaiceltic
08-Aug-04 - 11:55 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: New Zealand National Anthem-Origins
Subject: Folklore: New Zealand National Anthem-Origins
I saw this in online today in the Telegraph.

As someone who has ties with NZ (My son is now an NZ National) I was intrigued. Can any catter throw any light on the writer (Thomas Bracken)mentioned below.

And do any other catters have knowledge of other 'national' songs which could be misconstrued.

N Zealand national anthem 'a Maori war cry'
By Paul Chapman in Wellington
(Filed: 09/08/2004)


New Zealanders have been shocked by claims that their national anthem was written by a 19th century Irish immigrant as a call to arms for Maoris fighting British settlers.

God Defend New Zealand became the national hymn in 1940 and was elevated to anthem status by a proclamation of the Queen in 1977.

The song has become a popular expression of national identity among New Zealanders of European descent, best known when sung by the All Blacks before international rugby matches.

But research by Colin Andrews, an Auckland military historian, has found that its author, Thomas Bracken, may have had very different sentiments when he wrote it, some time before it was set to music in 1876.

The controversy revolves around a mysterious line midway through the first verse which runs: "Guard Pacific's triple star."

The words have traditionally been thought to refer to New Zealand's three principal land masses, North, South and Stewart islands.

But Mr Andrews told the New Zealand Herald newspaper that his research suggested it was a reference to the three stars on Maori battle flags flown during the bitter land wars with early settlers.

The stars are believed to have represented three baskets of knowledge belonging to the god Tane, part of a creation legend deeply rooted in Maori mythology.

Bracken, who had strong anti-colonialist views, arrived in New Zealand at the time Te Kooti, a noted rebel Maori chief, was conducting a bloody guerrilla campaign against the British.

A journalist and writer, Bracken was an admirer of Maori culture. He became an MP and denounced what he considered the colonial government's "dishonourable" dealings with the Maoris.