Tune of the Day: God Defend New Zealand
The poem “God Defend New Zealand” was written in the 1870s by Irish-born poet and New Zealand citizen Thomas Bracken. A competition to compose music for the poem was held in 1876 by The Saturday Advertiser, and judged by three prominent Melbourne musicians, with a prize of ten guineas. The winner of the competition was the Tasmanian-born John Joseph Woods of Lawrence, New Zealand, who composed the melody in a single sitting the evening after finding out about the competition.
The song became increasingly popular during the 19th century and early 20th century, and in 1940 the New Zealand government bought the copyright and made it New Zealand's national hymn in time for that year's centennial celebrations. In 1976 a petition was presented to parliament asking for it to be made the national anthem, and, with the permission of Queen Elizabeth II, it became the country's second national anthem, on equal standing with “God Save The Queen”.
Thanks to Diana for suggesting this tune!