Jun
19
2009

What is New Zealand’s National Anthem?

New Zealand flag - courtesy timparkinson - CC-BY

New Zealand flag - courtesy timparkinson - CC-BY

“God Defend New Zealand” is one of two official national anthems of New Zealand, together with “God Save the Queen“. Although they both share equal status, “God Defend New Zealand” is the anthem that is in more common use. Both of these anthems have origins which have been inspired by the fire of patriotism yet were written under markedly different situations.

Thomas Bracken wrote the poem in the early 1870s, and then offered a prize of 10 guineas for the best musical setting. That was won by Otago schoolteacher John Joseph Woods. In 1940, on the recommendation of the New Zealand Centennial Council, the Government declared God Defend New Zealand the National Hymn, and bought the copyright. In 1977, with the Queen’s consent, God Defend New Zealand was given equal status with God Save the Queen as one of New Zealand’s two national anthems.

The words of God Defend New Zealand are:

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.

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.

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