||Songs from the Southern Seas!
The expression "New Zealand Folk Music" doesn't really mean anything to a European and I wonder whether the animal actually exists. Whilst on a very brief but wonderful visit to relatives in NZ in 1994 (Auckland and Wellington) my impression was that Irish music was alive and well, both in Wellington and Auckland. One lasting impression was that of watching a slightly inebriated Maori lady at an Irish Pub in Auckland joining in the fun but at the same time using traditional Maori hand and body movements.
With the recent (1997) furore over the "Spice Girls" and their "Haka" (Ka mate! Ka mate! (Maori Haka)
) enraging the Maori community, it is with some trepidation that I provide the following list gleaned from Solid Gold Maori Songs
After returning to Germany, I persuaded one Steffi Lubrich to sing the named songs, accompanied by myself on the concertina - and fine songs they are, too . So a message to you Maoris down under. Please don't get uptight; in this global village music belongs to everybody and a "fine song" is a "fine song".
Since writing the above in 1997, I have found a few interesting sites in New Zealand but have still not found anything like, say, an NZ equivalent of Irish or Australian folk music. On my visit to Auckland in 1994 I also acquired The Great New Zealand Songbook
which I found very interesting. Without wanting to offend anybody the songs seem to be, however for the greater part, adaptations of Australian or British folk songs and folk-tunes and do not appear to have a genuine New Zealand (meaning British colonisers) character. Not yet having heard a New Zealander folk singer singing these songs my opinion is of course provisional and I will be delighted to change my mind. There is of course Maori music a-plenty.
For a genuine real live New Zealand folk-singer why not look-in on Dexter N. Muir
who gives the lyrics of his large wide ranging repertoire. The absolute Maori music website is to be found at John Archer's Waiata Maori Song
Geoff Grainger, Bremen-Vegesack, January 2001