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God Defend New Zealand, by Cindy Ruakere

We all do it, don’t we? Every time we go to watch our nations’ National sporting teams go into battle with anothers’, we stand and sing our respective National Anthems with great gusto.

It fills us with pride. It gives us spectators a lift, and those competitors a purpose for the battle – to defend their country’s honour against the other.

Most National Anthems laud the beauty and spectacle of their respective country, the spirit and pride of the people, and the honour to dwell in its’ borders and be its’ ambassador to the rest of the world.

And there is nothing wrong with having pride in your own country. But did you ever stop and give thanks to God for His bountiful provision, and protection?

That is why I love the New Zealand National Anthem. 

Yes, it speaks of the gift of beauty.

But it also goes a step further to thank the Giver for the gift, and ask for protection.

It is a prayer directed to the Creator of our beautiful country, although seldom treated as such.

The anthem was written as a poem by Thomas Bracken of Dunedin, in the 1870’s. It was set to music in 1876, but only officially became New Zealand’s National Anthem in 1977. 

Actually, we have 2 official National Anthems. The original one, God Save The Queen, is still recognised, but seldom sung by New Zealanders.

God Defend New Zealand has 5 verses, but normally only the Maori and English first verses are sung.

I love this folky version from Cindy Ruakere.



E Ihowā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā
Āta whakarangona;
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
Manaakitia mai

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 every 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.

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