God Defend New Zealand facts for kids

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God Defend New Zealand
God Defend New Zealand manuscript cropped.jpg
Woods' original manuscript setting Bracken's words to music
National anthem of New Zealand
Lyrics Thomas Bracken, 1870s
Music John Joseph Woods, 1876
Adopted 1940 (as national hymn)
1977 (as national anthem)
Music sample
God Defend New Zealand (Instrumental)

"God Defend New Zealand" is one of the national anthems of New Zealand. The other national anthem is "God Save the Queen", but that is not sung very often. Most people in New Zealand call "God Defend New Zealand" "the national anthem".


The words were written by Thomas Bracken in the 1870s. On 1 July 1876, the poem appeared in a local newspaper as part of a competition. The competition was to see who could compose the best music to fit the words. The prize was ten guineas. Twelve entries were received, and the winner was a young teacher named John Joseph Woods. It was first performed on Christmas Day, 1876, in Dunedin's Queen's Theatre.

100 years later, 7750 people signed a petition to make "God Defend New Zealand" the national anthem of New Zealand. After this was presented to Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II gave permission for it to become New Zealand's second national anthem, equal to "God Save the Queen".


Usually, only the first verse of the English and the Māori versions are sung, with the Māori first. The Māori version is not a translation of the English version, but was written to fit the melody.

English version Māori version Direct translation of Māori version

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 our 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

E Ihoā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā;
Āta whakarongona,
Me aroha noa;
Kia hua ko te pai
Kia tau to ata whai;
Manaakitia mai

Ōna mano tāngata
Kiri whero, kiri mā
Iwi Māori Pākehā
Rūpeke katoa
Nei ka tono ko ngā hē
Māu e whakaahu kē
Kia ora mārire

Tōna mana kia tū
Tōna kaha kia ū
Tōna rongo hei pakū
Ki te ao katoa
Aua rawa ngā whawhai
Ngā tutū a tata mai
Kia tupu nui ai

Waiho tona takiwā
Ko te ao mārama
Kia whiti tōna rā
Taiāwhio noa
Ko te hae me te ngangau
Meinga kia kore kau
Waiho i te rongo mau

Tōna pai me toitū
Tika rawa, pono pū
Tōna noho, tana tū
Iwi nō Ihowā
Kaua mōna whakamā
Kia hau te ingoa
Kia tū hei tauira

O Lord, God,
Of all people,
Listen to us,
Love us,
may good flourish,
May your blessings flow,
Look after

Let all people
Red skin, white skin
Maori, Pakeha
Come before you
May all our wrongs, we pray,
Be forgiven
So that we can say long live

May it be forever famous
May it go from strength to strength
May its fame spread
far and wide
Let not trouble
nor fighting begin
May it ever be great

Let its land
Be ever enlightened
Throughout the land
Let envy and fighting
Be sent away
Let peace rule
Over Aotearoa

Let its goodness last forever
Let justice and honesty
Among the people of God
Let it never be ashamed,
But rather, let its name be known
As a role model to follow

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