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New Zealand Music Month

This page might include information, links, and events that are specific to 2019. It will be updated as soon as 2020 information becomes available.

NZ music month logo.

Each May, New Zealand music is showcased as part of New Zealand Music Month. New Zealand Music Month has been developed to support the New Zealand music industry by creating a commercially successful platform for local performers. 

Music month provides the perfect opportunity to highlight New Zealand music and support students' musical talents at your school. This resource page is packed with ideas on how you can celebrate New Zealand Music Month with your students and communities. 

New Zealand Music Month and the NZC

By focusing on New Zealand Music Month in your curriculum you can explore the values of diversity, and community and participation with your students. New Zealand Music Month provides a useful context for students to develop understandings in several learning areas. 

Music – Sound arts 

  • The musical heritages of New Zealand’s diverse cultures can be investigated, including traditional and contemporary Māori musical arts. 
  • Students can develop literacies in music as they listen and respond to a range of New Zealand music and create their own compositions. 

Social studies

  • The impact of culture and heritage on identity can be explored by studying what contribution home-grown music has made to New Zealand's culture and heritage. (Identity, culture, and organisation)
  • Students can investigate the evolution of music and its significance to New Zealand and New Zealanders. (Continuity and change)
  • Students can consider why the retention of musical traditions and ideas is important for people moving from one country to another and examine the influence of overseas music on our culture and society. (Place and environment) 
  • The issue of quotas and selling New Zealand music can be explored. (The economic world) 

Classroom ideas

Here are some classroom ideas to help you celebrate New Zealand Music Month with your students:

  • Look on the NZ Music Month site to find events, stories and videos to support learning. 
  • Use this NZ History resource to investigate 31 New Zealand music stories. 
  • Listen to a different New Zealand song each day. Research the origins and traditions of each song. Investigate which song is the most popular in the class. To select music you can use this song of the day calendar or this list of top New Zealand songs
  • Join schools all over the country in the Hook, Line and Sing-a-Long event where you can learn and sing the 2018 winning song, The Smell of Sunscreen
  • Sing waiata with your class. Perhaps all classes in the school could learn new waiata to sing together at your next school hui. 
  • Investigate and listen to Māori musical instruments. What are they made from? How are they played? Why are they played? Ask in your local community to see if anybody has taonga puoro / Māori musical instruments that they can bring to school and play. The voices of Tāwhirimatea unit plan has further ideas on exploring the use of traditional Māori instruments.
  • Make your own musical instruments. 
  • Explore Pacific Island drumming traditions. Make your own drums, and use them to create your own rhythms based on Pasifika styles. This activity for ‘The Wooden Drum’ contains useful ideas and links. 
  • Find out who plays a musical instrument or takes singing lessons in your school. Ask them to perform for you. 
  • Invite local musicians into your school to play their music to you. 

What's on around New Zealand?

Use the calendar to find out what New Zealand Music Month events are being held in your local area:

Events and competitions

Smokefree Rockquest
Smokefree Rockquest is New Zealand’s youth event for original, live music. It provides young musicians the opportunity to perform live music, support their peers, and become involved in the New Zealand music community. Entries are now open for the 2018 competition.

Smokefree Pacifica Beats 
The Smokefree Pacifica Beats competition showcases the language, instruments, dance, and identity of Māori and Pacific cultures. Entries are now open for the 2018 competition.

Play It Strange
Play It Strange runs songwriting competitions with lyric, Māori language, and peace song awards. At least 40 finalists are recorded each year in professional recording studios. 

Teaching resources 

New Zealand Music Month on NZ History 
Use this resource to find out about the history of New Zealand Music Month. Explore the images and videos in the media gallery with your students. 

Kiwi Kidsongs
Kiwi kidsongs are catchy children’s songs, composed and performed by New Zealanders writers and artists. Funded by the Ministry of Education, Kiwi kidsongs are available through Down the Back of the Chair

New Zealand folk songs
Find a range of New Zealand folk songs to enjoy with your students and community. 

The archive of Māori & Pacific music
The archive of Māori and Pacific music features an ethnographic sound collection relating to the Pacific.  

Ukes in schools
Ukes in schools helps students get involved in music by supplying a set of ukuleles and supporting a teacher through training and workshops. When you register your students becomes part of the kiwleles, New Zealand's massed ukulele orchestra. 

Musicnet is an email mailing list open to all interested educators. Musicnet is a place to share ideas, request help and resources, and establish professional relationships.

In your book rooms

Starting with Strings, School Journal Level 2 August 2015
“Starting with Strings” is about Sistema Aotearoa, a children’s orchestra based in Otara. The article explains how children join the orchestra, what’s involved in learning to play an instrument, and what it means to be part of the orchestra. 

E Kō, E Kō - Morning Chorus from Night is a Blanket
This Māori song, with an English translation, encourages students to make connections to their experiences of hearing bird songs as the new day arrives.  

This lively, rhythmic, rhyming text describes T-shirts belonging to various family members. It includes an audio download. 

Get in touch

If you have other resources or ideas for New Zealand Music Month we would love to add them to this page. Email us at: nzcurriculum@tki.org.nz.

Updated on: 30 Apr 2019