New Zealand Anthem

New Zealand is unique in that it has two national anthems. “God Save the Queen” is one national anthem, while the other is “God Defend New Zealand,” which is more commonly used. The lyrics for “God Defend New Zealand” was originally written during the 1870s by Thomas Bracken. The song was originally created as a poem. In 1876, a competition was held to set the poem to music. This music was created by John Joseph Woods. At that time, the song was not yet the national anthem but it was growing more popular. In 1940, it was designated as the national hymn. It wasn’t until 1977 when it was designated as the national anthem after a campaign was launched by citizens following the use of the song during the 1972 Summer Olympics.

A Maori version of the song was created in 1878. It is not a direct translation of the original English version. Later in the 20th century, this caused some problems. Until the 1990s only the first verse of the English version was sung. However, the singing of the Maori verse during the 1999 Rugby World Cup led to a debate. Now, it is commonplace to sing the first verse twice – once in Maori and then again in English. The complete song features five verses. The song has religious connotations and centers around protections and defense of New Zealand’s people and land.

New Zealand Anthem Lyrics

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 ev'ry 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.