New Zealand music is a vibrant
reflection of the civilization of the country. As
the biggest country in Polynesia, the music of New
Zealand is shaped by the aboriginal Maori and
migrants from the region of the Pacific, though the
musical origins of New Zealand music rest
predominantly in the colonial history of the
British, with some influences from America and
As the country has progressed and instituted
its own culture, the artists of New Zealand have
integrated these styles with homegrown influences to
produce music that is truly New Zealand in manner.
The most well known styles of the latter part of the
20th century were hip hop and rock, both genres
trimmed with the unique Pacific influences of New
By the 21st century, dub, reggae, roots, and electronica
were all in style with New Zealand artists. New Zealand has
preserved a flourishing alternative scene for many decades.
The Maori people have also formulated a popular music genre,
and integrated rock and roll, reggae, and other influences.
The reggae groups of New Zealand like Fat Freddy's Drop,
Katchafire, and Herbs, are very popular.
The 1990s witnessed
the increasing popularity of hip hop bands like the Upper
Hutt Posse Moana and the Moahunters, principally grounded in
In the more conservative styles, the geographic
isolation of New Zealand and cultural surroundings
may have contributed to the retarded growth of
formal customs based on the classical music of
Nevertheless, these styles have also earned
In a nutshell, Maori singing of pre-European New
Zealand was micro-tonal, with an echoed melodic line
that did not depart too far from a key note. Group
singing was in chorus or at the musical octave.
Instrumental music was performed on a mixture of
struck, blown, and twirled musical instruments.
Missionaries contibuted harmony, a wider range and their
musical instruments which were step by step used in new
The waiata-a-ringa or action song was mostly formulated in
the early 20th century. Since settlement, the music of the
Maori has grown in interaction and in parallel with styles
from abroad, bringing forth a rich mixture of fresh styles.
The early Pakeha or European settlers had ethnic
music shared with and similar to that of
Australia's. The tradition is inspired with several
fêtes, especially the yearly Tahora gathering, and
musical artists such as Mike Harding have gained
some fame for executing old and new New Zealand folk
New Zealand boasts of a proud heritage of Brass
Bands, which have regular peasant contests, and
frequently celebrate ethnic events. The NZ National
Band has garnered accolades internationally.
It is claimed that New Zealand has more pipe bands
than those found in Scotland. Historic links are
kept throughout the nation by Caledonian Societies.
The country is frequently reminded of its European heritage
by the invoking sounds of bagpipes at armed forces parades
There are also a great number of regional orchestras of
semi-professional level performing their own concert series
annually. These orchestras include the the Christchurch
Symphony Orchestra, Vector Wellington Orchestra, and the
Southern Sinfonia based in Dunedin.