Category Archives: Songs

Arapuni, Arapuni

Next time you drive past the Arapuni Power Station on the Waikato River, spare a thought for the workers who constructed New Zealand’s first government-built hydroelectric scheme. Starting in 1924, the scheme took five years to complete then several more … Continue reading

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Have you ever seen the devil?

In my recently published article about the historian James Cowan, I discuss the interest that a number of New Zealand journalists such as Cowan took in local vernacular music during the early decades of the twentieth-century. These journalists included proprietor … Continue reading

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Get a spade

Very few English-language songs have survived from the heyday of the New Zealand gumfields in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries . So it was exciting last year to discover a long-forgotten gum-digging song using the text-searchable newspaper database, … Continue reading

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No Tour, No Tour, etc.

[Update 8 July, 2014: links to other song sheets online added.] Because vernacular music is—virtually by definition—created in the spirit of informality rather than for posterity, any documentary traces left behind have special value for researchers. Such is the case … Continue reading

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Lifting the tardy anchor

On 11 April 2014, I took part in ‘Lyrical legacy’, a lunchtime presentation at the National Library of New Zealand which examined New Zealand historian James Cowan’s interest in waiata, poetry and sea shanties. This was part of larger programme … Continue reading

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