Story: Popular music

'Blue smoke'

Ruru Karaitiana's 'Blue smoke' was the first record released by TANZA, and the first song written by a New Zealander to be recorded and processed locally and released on a local label. Karaitiana wrote the song in 1940 on the way to the battlefields of the Second World War and it became a favourite tune of the 28th (Māori) Battalion. The sheet music was published in 1947; the recording, by Pixie Williams, was released in 1949 and became a New Zealand classic. 

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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: GH009354

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Sound courtesy of Blue Smoke Records

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How to cite this page:

Chris Bourke, 'Popular music - Wartime music and early recording, 1930s and 1940s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 16 May 2022)

Story by Chris Bourke, published 22 Oct 2014