The idea of the New Zealand Songbook He Iere Waiata is to make available a free online resource for all people who want to sing songs and waiata from New Zealand or being important to people living in New Zealand.

The original concept was funded by The Stout Trust for which we are super grateful.

We started our journey for this songbook when the Artistic Director Dr. Karen Grylls of our national choirs at Choirs Aotearoa New Zealand Trust (you may have heard of the New Zealand Youth Choir, New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir , Aotearoa NZ Academy Choir and Voices New Zealand, if not check them out!!) said in a meeting, "we are a nation of many singers, but we don't really have a songbook that holds the songs that unite us and are important to our identity that we can just pull out whenever we want to sing together."

We went away testing the idea with many of our whānau around the motu and agreed, wouldn't that be great!

So here it is, the digital New Zealand Songbook. But this is only a starting point. We hope that we can develop this resource for all of you out there wanting to sing our people's songs and waiata and add new songs every year. And we want to hear from YOU which songs you think are iconic in New Zealand should be considered for inclusion (iconic for us means that people don't just want to sing a song for a few months or a year, but songs that last and have become part of our nation's musical fabric). Use the Contact us section with the subject SONG SUGGESTION to send us your ideas.

As the people training our singers of national choirs we also know that you need some tools and tips to learn a song and to learn about your own voice.

That's why we are producing and collecting resources that help you to tackle a new song, know-how tips how to warm up your voice, and put all that online here in this digital songbook.

This first installment of four songs was chosen in partnership with our friends from the Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Arts Festival (thank you Ata!) to put this idea straight into action and launch the 2024 AAF on Thursday 7 March by singing together as a super-massed-choir on Aotea Square. We called this event Waiata Mai.

Like this online songbook, participating in Waiata Mai is free, so come and join us for a bit of singing and fun.


Soprano Libby Montgomery

Libby Montgomery (Soprano)

For as long as memory serves, Auckland-based Soprano Libby Montgomery has been an active member in New Zealand's choral scene, where she developed a deep love of music. Libby has featured as a member of Voices New Zealand, New Zealand Youth Choir 2020-2022, and the New Zealand Opera Chorus having just performed in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. Libby holds a Master of Music with First-class honours from the University of Auckland where she found most joy performing in the university opera scenes, highlights of which were playing the roles of 'Cherubino' in Mozart’s Le Nozze de Figaro Act II, and 'Cupid' in Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld. Libby is, also, an alumna of the New Zealand Opera School (2022&2024). When not singing, Libby can be found doing yoga, dancing like a crazy person to all kinds of music, hanging out with her cat Figgy, and hanging out by a beach.

Keani Pora (Alto)

Keani Taruia Pora (Alto)

Being of Cook Island-Tahitian descent, Keani’s cultural views and passion around Pacific music have paved the start of her musical journey, ultimately influencing her passion for Western music. Keani is a graduate of the University of Auckland with
her Bachelor of Music (Hons) majoring in Classical voice and minoring in Conducting. She is a practising solo performer and chorister, currently singing with Auckland Chamber Choir and Voices NZ, as well as being an alum of the New Zealand Youth Choir, New Zealand Secondary Students Choir, NZ Opera Chorus and Auckland Youth Choir. When Keani is not singing herself, she leads Takapuna Grammar School’s highly successful choral programme as the Director of Choirs and music teacher. She also works as a vocal coach and specialist in Pasifika music for various school and community choirs across Auckland.

Nathan Hauraki (Tenor)

Nathan Hauraki (Tenor)

Nathan Hauraki is a Māori Tenor from Auckland.  A graduate from the University of Auckland's School of Music, Nathan has a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours in Classical Voice Performance and a Bachelor of Arts. Whilst working full-time at Air NZ, Nathan is also an active singer, singing with the Auckland Chamber Choir, Voices NZ, NZ Opera, and is the Tenor in the St Matthews in the City Quartet. Nathan also sang in the New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir (2013-2014) and the New Zealand Youth Choir (2017-2019). Nathan is very passionate about Te Ao Māori, in particular, both the Māori language and culture being incorporated into the Choral music. As such, he is extremely excited to be part of the Waiata Mai project which sees not only communities embracing choral music but doing so in Te Reo Māori.

Blake Scanlen (Bass)

Blake Scanlen (Bass)

Blake is a bass-baritone, conductor, and composer from Tāmaki Makaurau. He currently performs with the Voices NZ Chamber Choir, NZ Youth Choir, Auckland Chamber Choir, Austellus Vocal Ensemble, and St Matthew’s Voices. He is the artistic director for Neotectonic Vocal Ensemble and takes Momentum Choir at Westlake Boys’ High School where he is a full-time Music and English teacher. Blake is a graduate of the University of Auckland School of Music where he completed a BMus and GradDip (Mus) in composition, conducting, and classical performance voice. He is thrilled to be the bass section leader for the Auckland Arts Festival’s Waiata Mai performance to sing some fantastic arrangements of NZ classics!


Dr. Morag Atchison

Dr. Morag Atchison

Morag Atchison, ARAM, is one of New Zealand’s leading sopranos and pedagogues. A graduate of the University of Auckland and Royal Academy of Music (London), she has performed throughout NZ and overseas in opera and concert. Notable performances include Berta, The Barber of Seville (NZ Opera), Fourth Maid, Elektra (APO), Ah! Perfido (APO & MSO), Helmwige, Die Walküre (NZSO), Britten War Requiem (CSO); Mozart Requiem (Voices NZ/Wellington Sinfonia); Verdi Requiem (Bach Musica); Tippett’s A Child of our Time (NZYC/NZSO-NYO); Messiah (Auckland Choral & VNZ/WS) a recital tour with Sweet Chance for Chamber Music NZ, in concert with the Toronto Children’s Chorus (Glenn Gould Studio), and Vivaldi Gloria with Sir David Willcocks (Royal Albert Hall and Venice). Morag is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland and vocal tutor for the New Zealand Youth Choir. Morag’s debut album The Distance: Songs of David Hamilton with Rachel Fuller and Luca Manghi was released in 2022 on the Atoll label.

Dr Karen Grylls CNZM - CANZ Artistic Director

Robert Wiremu - Vocal Coach and Pianist, Artistic Advisor (CANZ)


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