National anthems of New Zealand

  (Redirected from National anthem of New Zealand)

New Zealand is one of only two countries in the world—the other being Denmark—with two official national anthems of equal status.[2] The traditional anthem "God Save the Queen" is generally used only on royal and viceregal occasions.[3] "God Defend New Zealand" is more commonly used on occasions when the national identity of New Zealand is the focus, such as sports events, where it is sung with English and Māori verses.[4] On a few occasions both anthems may be used.[2]

External video
video icon "God Save the Queen" and "God Defend New Zealand" sung together at the dedication ceremony of the New Zealand War Memorial at Hyde Park, London. 11 November 2006.[1]

God Save the QueenEdit

"God Save the Queen" (alternatively known as "God Save the King" in the reign of a male monarch) was inherited from Britain when New Zealand was made a colony.[5] In 1860 it was translated into Māori by Edward Marsh Williams, son of missionary Henry Williams, who had as a youth helped his father translate the Treaty of Waitangi.[6] It remained the country's sole national anthem until 1977.[5]

As well as Britain, the song is used in other Commonwealth realms (such as Canada and Australia, together with "Advance Australia Fair"[7]), but does not have co-official status as a national anthem in those countries—it is regarded solely as a 'royal anthem'.[8] However, its usage in those countries is similar in practice to that of New Zealand, where "God Save the Queen" is now most often played only when the monarch, another member of the monarch's family or the governor-general[9] is present, or in other situations where a royal anthem would be used.[3]

God Defend New ZealandEdit

The original sheet music for "God Defend New Zealand"

"God Defend New Zealand" is a poem[2] that was written by Thomas Bracken in the 1870s. It was set to the tune of the Presbyterian funeral hymn "Raise Up Our Souls, Oh Lord", and first publicly performed in 1876.[5] A Māori translation of the original English was produced in 1878 by Thomas Henry Smith.[9] In 1940 the New Zealand Government bought the copyright and made it New Zealand's 'national hymn' in time for that year's centennial celebrations. It was used at the British Empire Games from 1950 onward, and at the Olympics from 1972. Following the performance at the Summer Olympics in Munich, a campaign began to have the hymn officially adopted as a national anthem.[9]

In 1976 a petition was presented to Parliament asking "God Defend New Zealand" to be made the national anthem.[5] With the permission of Queen Elizabeth II, it was gazetted as the country's second national anthem on 21 November 1977, on equal standing with "God Save the Queen".[2]

Until the 1990s only the first verse of the English version was commonly sung; it has since been common to sing in both English and Māori. The first verse is sung in Māori then it is repeated in English.[3]

Other parts of the Realm of New ZealandEdit

"Te Atua Mou E" and "Ko e Iki he Lagi" are the national anthems of the Cook Islands and Niue, respectively.[10][11] In 2012, Tokelau adopted a territorial anthem, "Te Atua o Tokelau".[12]


  1. ^ God Save The Queen & God Defend New Zealand - Hayley Westenra (NZ War Memorial Ceremony London 2006). YouTube. 29 August 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Announcement of the adoption of national anthems for New Zealand" (PDF). Supplement to the New Zealand Gazette of Thursday, 17 November 1977. Wellington. 21 November 1977. Retrieved 15 August 2015. ...both being of equal status as national anthems appropriate to the occasion. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c "National anthems: Protocols". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "New Zealand Music Guide Book – "God Defend New Zealand" (National Anthem)". New Zealand on the Web Limited. Retrieved 6 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b c d Swarbrick, Nancy (June 2012). "National anthems". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 6 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "'God save the Queen' in te reo Māori". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 8 June 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Australia's national anthem – Fact sheet 251". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Minahan, James (2009). The Complete Guide to National Symbols and Emblems [2 Volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 562. ISBN 9780313344978.
  9. ^ a b c Cryer, Max. "Hear Our Voices, We Entreat: The Extraordinary Story of New Zealand's National Anthems". Exisle Publishing. Archived from the original on 17 May 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "National anthem". Government of The Cook Islands. Retrieved 6 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Niue". 3 March 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Tokelau". 29 April 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit