New Zealand's National Anthem

New Zealand actually has TWO national anthems. It is unique in this respect; no other nation has two of equal status. God Save The Queen is the national anthem of Britain and is the one that used to be sung more often than God Defend New Zealand. These days, however, the latter is being sung nearly exclusively. God Save The Queen is still sung, of course, whenever one of the Royal Family visits.

When I first heard and sang God Defend New Zealand was in our church, back in June. Seeing the words and hearing the tune actually brought tears to my eyes. I have finally determined to learn this anthem. When the anthem is sung, two languages are sung. The first “verse” is in Maori, the language of the native people of New Zealand. The second “verse” is in English and means basically the same thing. I place quotes around “verse”, because there are actually five verses in each language. For popular singing of the anthem, the first verse in each language is sung.

Andrew is probably being driven nuts by my playing God Defend New Zealand so many times. I play it on my iTouch and on my computer. I finally found an MP3 that I can download to my iTouch, so that I can listen and practice singing anywhere. I had previously always simply watched a youtube version of the song.

Listen to God Defend New Zealand, right-click the link. If you simply click on the link, it will play for you, but if you’d like a copy on your computer, right-click and select the option of “Save As” or something like that.

Following are the words to 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
Aotearoa

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.

I admit that tears still well up in my eyes many times as I sing this anthem. It is a beautiful song.

Oh, and as for God Save The Queen, New Zealand’s other national anthem? Those from the USA will likely recognize the tune when the listen to God Save The Queen, and the words are as follows:

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 thine 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.

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