It's time for a new national anthem

Last updated 09:14 21/05/2010

Bracken Black (& White)

I don't know about you but I don't really dig our national anthem. Or should I say anthems. We apparently hold "a rare position in the world" in that we have both God Defend New Zealand and God Save the Queen available, though I guess we basically go with God Defend New Zealand - thanks a lot Thomas Bracken! When I think of it I remember the nearly sonorous school choir attempts; fighting against the piano, having no luck herding the musical lines into any real shape or form.

So - let's imagine we could ditch God Save the Queen altogether (just pretend you are Australian for the day; that's it, reach into your actor's toolbox). And let's also bin God Defend New Zealand (just pretend you are Richard Dawkins; reach back into that toolbox).

What would you pick as a new national anthem? Let's get a vote going - it would be interesting to tally your picks - see if there are a few recurring favourites.

I've no doubt a few of you will suggest Shihad's Home Again. I'm not sure it really works in this context but it's a catchy pop-rock song.

There'll be people perhHe doesn't know how lucky he isaps recommending Dragon and Hello Sailor and The Exponents. I guess with a new season of Outrageous Fortune on the way, there'll be a vote or two for Gutter Black, won't there?

Split Enz's Six Months in a Leaky Boat is obviously a worthy candidate - I know I've referred to it a couple of times in reviews as our alternative national anthem. And I wouldn't be the only hack to think they had come up with that. It is a good song though, right? Its "tyranny of distance" line is a good'un.

Dave Dobbyn writes anthems. Most recently he added Welcome Home to the pile. Does anyone want that as our national anthem? Or will some of you suggest Loyal?

It was Tim Finn that put together Leaky Boat but Brother Neil (it's clear many of you are fans) has written a few Crowded House anthem-contenders. Don't Dream It's Over and Better Be Home Soon for starters.

And of course there's Nature - available in both Fourmyula flavour and Mutton Birds variety.

So far so Nature's Best. Or if you remember last year's pointless update, The Great New Zealand Songbook (I still think they got the wrong version of the word great in the title).

Let's think outside the box. I mean, by all means, if you think one of those songs named already, or a song from one of the artists mentioned above is the key contender for a new anthem then that's fine - but what about something by a newer band? Or a far older band?

What about something by Vorn? I've been listening to Vorn's Modern Classics - it's got some pretty cool songs on it - I reckon An Act of Good Faith would work.

My first pick is Sonny Day's Saving Up. But then I think, well, it wasn't written by a Kiwi - it was written by Bruce Springsteen. So I'm feeling like Natalie Imbruglia there; let's face it, a) The Boss writes anthems and b) you always could do a lot worse than Springsteen.

Also, last I checked Thomas Bracken wasn't a Kiwi. He was born in Ireland. And then, adding insult to injury, he settled in Geelong!

How many dudes you know roll like this?So I'd be happy with Saving Up. I'm not sure it's the right message, but maybe it is - in times of Budget changes, GST increases and a gymnastic Government perhaps we all need to be "saving up for the things that money can't buy" (i.e. eventually everything).

And perhaps John Key will agree to the anthem change. It might get him back on Letterman. If the new anthem is by Liam Finn then he and Key - both Letterman veterans - could even duet it.

It's a Small World After All...

There's also a joke there about it being in the wrong Key - but I'll let you write that.

So - back to the serious suggestions. I do like The Chills' Come Home - but can you really sing a song called Come Home when and while you are at home? It would be a similar problem if Dobbyn's Welcome Home was welcomed as the anthem. Or, for that matter, if Shihad's Home Again was in the running.

The added issue with The Chills would be that you'd be getting a different lineup arriving to perform the tune every time there was a rugby test. (And you would want to make sure pies and flavoured milk was part of the rider.)

Let us not forget what this is all about, after all. We're really just in need of a new song for Hayley Westenra or Yulia or the chorus from Melody Rules: The Musical to sing before a game; before we drop the ball again at a certain upcoming World Cup or forget we're not allowed to pick the ball up at another upcoming World Cup.

That of course means someone will have the feelers come in and record their version of Sonny Day's version of the Clarence Clemons version of that Bruce Springsteen sWaiting On A Sonny Dayong, Saving Up.

Well, dreams may be free but the GST on them has just been raised by 2.5 per cent.

You have one choice - you get to pick our new national anthem. You want to include the whole country - so perhaps consider Scribe. I mean he even started inventing places to honour like East Canterbury (aka: the sea) on one of his anthems.

You can even - if you like - pick who gets to cover it. So long as it is not the feelers. What new New Zealand national anthem would you like to hear? Then we'll tally them; Tally Ho!

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108 comments
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Vim Fuego   #1   09:18 am May 21 2010

HAHA ridiculous, I love it! Why get a new one? How about a Drum n Bass remix of God Defend NZ?! Maybe chuck in a drum beat, have some heavily distorted guitar and pick up the tempo a few steps!!

I'd want Scorpio Girls by Supergroove!!

Don 1   #2   09:25 am May 21 2010

What about something by Dio, perhaps? Stargazer, or We Rock, maybe...

Dandy   #3   09:25 am May 21 2010

Blimey I think I would prefer the current cringing, god-bothering dirge to anything by bloody Dobbyn...

I'm all for 'Back in Black' as a sporting anthem however, don't care its by a Scots/Aussie band, just love THAT riff belting out at stadiums, always gets me amped...

Rob   #4   09:28 am May 21 2010

Clearly Mr Simon Sweetman - you having nothing to do live - why don't you go and get a real job you are good at. Right now - the last thing that concerns this country is the national anthem. Actually - I just realised -I had to lookup your name - never heard of you before. - go and do something worthwhile before you have a right to drag out this anthem...I've got nothing to talk about topic!

Danny   #5   09:30 am May 21 2010

I have thought for a long time, as have a lot of people, that we should ditch God Defend New Zealand. Not necessairly because I am an Atheist, but more because so many people in New Zealand are not Christian...e.g. we have Atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, etc etc. And while I am not worried about offending any of these groups, maybe something that suits us all would be more appropriate. Also, We have a dirge asking for God's help, as do the British. Yet the Australians are happy to "Advance Australia Fare" all on their own, without seeking help from a non existent deity. And it even sounds uplifting! Or, if we really want to make the national anthem interesting before sports events, I would like to see the All Blacks etc trying to sing John Hore's "I've Been Everywhere"! That gets my vote....

redsfan   #6   09:35 am May 21 2010

"Kick it in the guts Trev" - We dont know lucky we are.

Random   #7   09:36 am May 21 2010

The Feelers - Right Here, Right Now

Kirsty   #8   09:36 am May 21 2010

I'm probably going to be in the minority, but I like God Defend New Zealand. My emotions are easily stirred, and the tune never fails to make my breast swell with pride, whether it's watching Mark Todd take home in the gold in 1984 or watching the All Blacks before they lose to France (though when it comes to rugby, the haka never fails to get my blood tingling). So, were it up to me, I probably wouldn't change it, although I am all for changing our flag to a silver fern on a black background.

That said, if I had to choose an alternative, Dave Dobbyn's Welcome Home seems apt. I like it. It has more of an anthem-y feel about it, whereas Leaky Boat doesn't. The lyrics are good, but the beat is too fast and we should look like idiots, shouldn't we, trying to be all solemn on the podium while that song bopps around the stadium.

I didn't realise God Save The Queen was an option though. Here's hoping it never becomes a viable one. I feel sorry for the Brits - can't take that one seriously since Freddie Mercury paraded across the stage in ermine cloak and crown. And in any case, just like I think we should dispense with our British-themed flag, I wouldn't like to see us return to a monarchial (is that a word?) anthem that has nothing with NZ or who we are.

erin   #9   09:37 am May 21 2010

i like our national anthem. i like it even more that generations of kiwi kids still belt out the lyrics as 'god of nations smell my feet, in the bonds of coronation street, hear our voices tweet tweet tweet, god defend our toilet seat'. that's national pride right there.

Jonno   #10   09:39 am May 21 2010

I've grown to like GDNZ. Sung half-heartedly it really is a slog, but get a great pair of lungs behind it (like Otago's Judd Arther for instance), and I find it pretty powerful. Maybe I just appreciate it a bit more as I get older.


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