Skip to main content

God Defend New Zealand/Aotearoa

English version

God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.

Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame,
Guard our country's spotless name,
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom's ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations' van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.

Māori version

E Ihowā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā
Āta whakarangona;
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
Manaakitia mai
Aotearoa

Ōna mano tāngata
Kiri whero, kiri mā,
Iwi Māori, Pākehā,
Rūpeke katoa,
Nei ka tono ko ngā hē
Māu e whakaahu kē,
Kia ora mārire
Aotearoa

Tōna mana kia tū!
Tōna kaha kia ū;
Tōna rongo hei pakū
Ki te ao katoa
Aua rawa ngā whawhai
Ngā tutū e tata mai;
Kia tupu nui ai
Aotearoa

Waiho tona takiwā
Ko te ao mārama;
Kia whiti tōna rā
Taiāwhio noa.
Ko te hae me te ngangau
Meinga kia kore kau;
Waiho i te rongo mau
Aotearoa

Tōna pai me toitū
Tika rawa, pono pū;
Tōna noho, tāna tū;
Iwi nō Ihowā.
Kaua mōna whakamā;
Kia hau te ingoa;
Kia tū hei tauira;
Aotearoa


A printable document with the words in a larger font size is available here.

English translation of the Māori lyrics of God Defend New Zealand

E Ihowā Atua,
(Oh Lord, God)
O ngā iwi mātou rā,
(Of nations and of us too)
Āta whakarongona;
(Listen to us)
Me aroha noa
(Cherish us)
Kia hua ko te pai;
(Let goodness) flourish,
Kia tau tō atawhai;
(May your blessings flow)
Manaakitia mai
(Defend)
Aotearoa

 

The above YouTube clip  features singer Naomi Bradford and was published by MāoriLanguage.net.

The above YouTube clip by Cindy Ruakere features all 5 verses of God Defend New Zealand.

Whakarongona or Whakarangona?

Occasionally we are asked if whether the Māori words for God Defend New Zealand are correct as displayed on our website.

The original translation by T. H. Smith

A search of Books in Māori 1815-1900 - Ngā Tānga Reo Māori, an annotated bibliography, revealed that item 907, p.431 was the original version of the translation made by T. H. Smith which had been organised by Sir George Grey.  In this document, the word 'whakarangona' was used to translate 'hear', rather than 'whakarongona'.

Is whakarangona grammatically correct?

According to the Williams dictionary the passive of 'rongo' (Apprehend by senses, except sight) can be either rangona or rongona.

A search of Niupepa: Māori newspapers, an online database of historical Māori newspapers shows that there are 187 results for rongona against 1153 results for rangona.  Additionally, there are 33 results for whakarongona against 179 results for whakarangona.  A name and word index to Ngā Mōteatea by R. B. Harlow and A. H. F. Thornton gives 28 results for rangona and none for rongona in the index for general words.  Additionally, there are two results for whakarangona against none for whakarongona.

This suggests that historically, there was a general preference for the use of 'rangona' over 'rongona'. So it was appropriate for Smith to use 'whakarangona'.  The use of 'whakarongona' was one of a number of errors introduced into the Māori text when God Defend New Zealand was first published as the National Hymn in 1940.  These errors were then continued in 1979 when the words were published in the Gazette.

Source:

Basil Keane, Aotearoa and E te Atua Tohungia te Kuini: a History of the Māori Translations of New Zealand's Anthems, in Te Pouhere Kōrero 5, pp.47-66.

Additional resource

The New Zealand Folk Song website features information about the Māori language component of New Zealand's national anthem, God Defend New Zealand.

New Zealand Folk Song website.



Updated on 19th September 2016