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Folklore: New Zealand National Anthem-Origins

08 Aug 04 - 11:55 PM (#1242930)
Subject: Folklore: New Zealand National Anthem-Origins
From: Shanghaiceltic

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.


09 Aug 04 - 03:30 AM (#1243003)
Subject: RE: Folklore: New Zealand National Anthem-Origins
From: Billy the Bus

There's a good Bracken bio in Dictionary of NZ Biography - type Thomas Bracken in the 'Find' box. I like the "triple star" link to the Tane knowledge baskets - but I doubt Bracken wrote GDNZ as 'a Maori war cry' - he was too much a philosophical pacifist. In the bio linked to above, there is a mention of Parihaka - one of our NZ Govt's most inglorious actions in the Land Wars. I'll look up some links, and post them here.

I'll also try to find my favourite Bracken poem - "Not Understood"

Cheers - Sam - Stewart Isnd NZ

PS - Where's your son living?


09 Aug 04 - 03:45 AM (#1243008)
Subject: RE: Folklore: New Zealand National Anthem-Origins
From: Billy the Bus

Mumble... I forgot to put a link to the words of God Defend New Zealand - both English and Maori versions. Zheck 'em out for a real Pacific Anthem...

Cheers - Sam


09 Aug 04 - 04:11 AM (#1243024)
Subject: RE: Folklore: New Zealand National Anthem-Origins
From: Billy the Bus

G'day Again,

Here's the words to Not Understood. No... GDNZ was a Peace Cry - not a War Cry... Damned journos...

Cheers - Sam


09 Aug 04 - 04:54 AM (#1243038)
Subject: RE: Folklore: New Zealand National Anthem-Origins
From: masato sakurai

Words, audio recordings, and sheet music are here (New Zealand's National Anthems homepage - Ministry for Culture and Heritage).


12 Oct 04 - 10:55 PM (#1295796)
Subject: RE: Folklore: New Zealand National Anthem-Origins
From: Billy the Bus

G'day Shanghaiceltic,

Just heard Max Cryer on the wireless, talking about his book on Bracken and GDNZ - it's Published by Exile Press -- go to 'NZ Titles' then down to 'Hear Our Voices, We Entreat'.

Cheers - Sam