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31 Reasons to love New Zealand Music

New Zealand Music Month is about showcasing Kiwi tunes and celebrating home-grown talent on our airwaves and stages.

This month the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website harks back to New Zealand’s musical roots with ‘31 Reasons to love New Zealand music’ at

Whether we’re punching above our weight, cutting down tall poppies or mumbling the words to ‘God Defend New Zealand’, stories such as those of Kiwi Rock Royalty Split Enz or our 61-year-old New Zealand Symphony Orchestra are a musical history to be proud of.

Ruru Karaitiana wrote 'Blue smoke' in 1940 on the troop ship Aquitania, off the coast of Africa while serving in the Māori Battalion. In 1949 the song featured on the first record wholly produced in New Zealand:

Back in the day when the Tui Awards were the Loxene (Shampoo) Golden Disc Awards, Sandy Edmonds, a Liverpool-born dental assistant, rose to become the swinging, groovy Paris Hilton of the 1960s:

Kiwi Records was the ‘saviour of New Zealand composers’ when Publisher A.H. & A.W. Reed started the label in 1957: Nearly the only local outlet for recording classical music, it also churned out LPs like ‘Steam militant!’ and ‘A Treasury of New Zealand Bird Song’. The ‘romance and utility of railways’ perhaps inspired the iconic ‘Taumarunui (on the main trunk line)’:

New Zealanders have had huge successes in the charts. ‘Poi E’ had four weeks at number one in 1984, Blam Blam Blam had a runaway hit in 1981 with ‘There is no depression in New Zealand’ and OMC’s ‘How Bizarre’ remains the biggest-selling New Zealand record. These are immortalised in the media gallery alongside other classic images, videos and sound clips: also has a history of New Zealand Music Month and a list of the Best New Zealand songs ever. Classroom activities can be found at

The New Zealand Music Month website has a gig guide, news, competitions, text and email updates. 

Updated on 23rd July 2015