New Zealand National Anthem - the unofficial one.

A highlight of any New Zealand visit is the opportunity to experience the culture of the indigenous Māori people. The video highlighted in this blog, is an example of their music, recorded in 2012 when a New Zealand singing group competed in a music contest in the USA. It took place outside of the actual competition venue, an impromptu and powerful example of how music can bring people together.

We suggest you read below for a history of this music and how the performance came about.

Then listen to the song, called 'Pokarekare Ana', found HERE. Please be patient, it might take awhile for the video to start.

The origin of the song is widely accepted as being a love song, written by a homesick Māori soldier from the trenches of the 1914 - 1918 World War. It's addressed to his sweetheart back in New Zealand.

For New Zealanders living overseas (of which I am one) this beautiful song delivers a powerful emotional punch, often reducing us to tears of sudden homesickness. Similar perhaps to the effect on Americans of hearing 'America The Beautiful' or 'This Land is Your Land' in the course of their travels.

This particular performance came about when a choir from New Zealand called Vocal FX. visited the US to compete in a music competition and during a break they performed alongside their friends from a California choir called Westminster Chorus.

As you will see, it's an impromptu performance and this somehow adds to the power of the performance. In a caption to the video, one of the Westminster Chorus writes - "We sang this impromptu, as part of our general celebration in seeing each other and spending time together. Sharing this moment with our brothers from New Zealand was an incredible experience. We are very close with the vocal FX Wellington chorus and consider New Zealand a second home to us musically. We love you. Kia Kaha

'Kia kaha' is a Māori phrase used by both the Māori and Pākehā (European) people of New Zealand meaning 'stay strong'. The phrase has significant meaning for both the Māori and Pākehā people, popularised through its usage by the famous 28th Māori Battalion during World War II.


Wahine (female) dancers perform the Maori Poi.


The Haka, a war dance intended to intimidate an enemy.

When you arrange your New Zealand vacation with New Zealand Vacations we'll provide you with opportunities to experience the wonderful Māori culture through their dance and music. 

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Jul 31, 2022