God Defend New Zealand

God Defend New Zealand

Since coming to New Zealand, one of the pieces I’ve played often is our National Anthem, God Defend New Zealand. However, it’s not been without its challenges due to the score being written by hand, hard to read arrangements, wrong notes and occasionally questionable harmony. Not to mention the poor quality of the photocopies in our Band Library. So I decided it was time for a new, clear, easy arrangement.
Before I explain how I’ve set it out, let’s take a step back to 1870 when Thomas Bracken scripted a poem entitled: God Defend New Zealand.
It was almost 20 years later when The Saturday Advertiser and New Zealand Literary Miscellany advertised a competition to put music to the lyrics. John Joseph Woods, a teacher and songwriter, received his copy of the newspaper at 9 pm and felt compelled to respond to the competition. He began composing and didn’t stop until the early hours of the morning when he had completed his task.
His tune won and God Defend New Zealand went on to be an iconic song, raising to National Song status in 1940. However, it wasn’t until 1977 after Dunedin man Garth Henry Latta petitioned to have it recognised as an official anthem, that it finally found it’s rightful place alongside God Save the Queen.
Now here we are in 2019 where a Mancunian Musician, who recently became an NZ Citizen, is tidying up the nations much-loved anthem to make it easier to read for present and future band members. 
I’ve added an optional 4 bar fanfare-like introduction. 
Verse 1: Simple and scored to sound 'fuller' even if your band has parts missing. 
Verse 2: As verse 1 but with a few embellishments on the cornets and side drum to add that extra something to the performance, with the melody doubled on the euphoniums.

The arrangement could be played as written, or you could omit the 4 bar intro, or you could play either verse without the other. It works however you want to use it and is playable by pretty much any standard of brass band.


Want to buy the sheet music? It's in the shop HERE 


If you want to know the story behind how he came to write it go here https://mch.govt.nz/nz-identity-heritage/national-anthems/john-joseph-woods-composer

Of God Defend New Zealand. 
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
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;
Anthem words above copied from the Ministry for Cultural and Heritage Website English version, and below The Maori version, Aotearoa, 
Blog image photo by Dan Whitfield from Pexels
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