Photo BBC Music Magazine
Photo BBC Music Magazine

Both were inspired by patriotism, yet written in very different circumstances.

God Defend New Zealand

God Defend New Zealand, Maori Aotearoa, one of the two national anthems of New Zealand (the other being God Save the Queen, national anthem of the United Kingdom). The words to the anthem were written in the early 1870s by Thomas Bracken, who offered a prize of £10 for the best musical setting of it. The winning music was composed by John J. Woods, and the resulting hymn was first publicly performed in 1876. In 1940 the government declared God Save New Zealand to be the national hymn, or unofficial anthem (God Save the Queen had long been the national anthem), and the hymn’s copyright was purchased by the government. In 1977, however, God Defend New Zealand was given equal status with God Save the Queen as New Zealand’s other national anthem.

For all the criticism that it is too formal and like a hymn, ‘God defend New Zealand’ has stood the test of time. Its critics have been unable to come up with a credible alternative. Jim Anderton’s calls to replace it with ‘Pokarekare ana’ got no real traction. Despite the promotion of alternative anthems such as Dave Dobbyn’s ‘Loyal’, no suitable replacement has emerged. We could be mumbling the words to ‘God defend New Zealand’ for many years yet.

Māori Lyrics of God Defend New Zealand

E Ihowā Atua,

O ngā iwi mātou rā

Āta whakarangona;

Me aroha noa

Kia hua ko te pai;

Kia tau tō atawhai;

Manaakitia mai



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



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



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



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;


English lyrics of God Defend New Zealand

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 nation’s van,

Preaching love and truth to man,

Working out Thy glorious plan,

God defend New Zealand.

God Save the Queen

God Save the Queen, also called (during a kingship) God Save the King, British royal and national anthem. The origin of both the words and the music is obscure. The many candidates for authorship include John Bull (c. 1562–1628), Thomas Ravenscroft (c. 1583–c. 1633), Henry Purcell (c. 1639–95), and Henry Carey (c. 1687–1743). The earliest copy of the words appeared in Gentleman’s Magazine in 1745; the tune appeared about the same time in an anthology, Thesaurus Musicus—in both instances without attribution. In the same year, “God Save the King” was performed in two London theatres, one the Drury Lane; and in the following year George Frideric Handel used it in his Occasional Oratorio, which dealt with the tribulations of the Jacobite Rebellion of ’45. Thereafter, the tune was used frequently by composers making British references, notably by Ludwig van Beethoven, who used it in seven variations.

From Great Britain the melody passed to continental Europe, becoming especially popular in Germany and Scandinavia, with a variety of different lyrics. Later, in the United States, Samuel F. Smith (1808–95) wrote “My Country ’Tis of Thee” (1832), to be sung to the British tune; it became a semiofficial anthem for the nation, second in popularity only to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

God Save the Queen-English lyrics

God save our gracious Queen,

Long live our noble Queen,

God save the Queen:

Send her victorious,

Happy and glorious,

Long to reign over us:

God save the Queen.

O Lord our God arise,

Scatter her enemies,

And make them fall:

Confound their politics,

Frustrate their knavish tricks,

On Thee our hopes we fix:

God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store,

On her be pleased to pour;

Long may she reign:

May she defend our laws,

And ever give us cause

To sing with heart and voice

God save the Queen.

When is Waitangi day?

Photo Colourbox
Photo Colourbox

Waitangi Day is New Zealand's national day. It is a holiday held annually on February 6th to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi - New Zealand's founding document - on February 6th 1840.

Since the change in the Holiday Act in January 2014, if Waitangi Day falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be observed as a holiday.

History of Waitangi Day

The Treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, guaranteed Māori rights to their land and gave Māori the rights of British citizens.

The treaty was signed in Waitangi, a town in the Bay of Islands, by a group of Maori chiefs and the British Government, as represented by Lieutenant-Governor Hobson.

In February 1840, it was at Te Tii marae where Ngāpuhi (the largest Māori iwi - tribe) hosted around 10,000 Māori to debate the agreement for several days. On February 6th, Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed by around 40 Māori rangatira (chiefs) and representatives of the British Crown outside British Government Representative James Busby’s house (now known as Treaty House) on the Waitangi grounds.

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