A bilingual anthem to unite the nation

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

For the first time ever, the second verse of 'God Defend New Zealand' has been sung in both English and Māori at a major national event. 

Maisey Rika who gave a moving rendition of the waiata at today's National Remembrance Service in Christchurch says she was touched by the aroha of the occasion.

"I felt the love and compassion here today, the unity of all people, so that to me is the main theme of this day."

The musical icon paid her respects to families of those murdered in the Christchurch terror attacks.

“When I arrived I asked my team if we could go to the mosque and give them our love, to sing to them and pray for them,” says Rika.

It was Hinewehi Mohi who popularised the Māori version of the NZ national anthem in the 90's. Today, Maisey Rika included the second verse in both English and Māori.

“Those verses were reawakened because they are directly relevant to this matter, that's why”, says Rika.

Originally a poem with 5 stanzas, the second verse speaks to the unity of all people.

Muslim prayers were also observed in the proceedings.

Rika says, “I felt the spirituality within the Muslim prayers, the words, in the songs, there are similarities to our Ringatū faith, we have songs like that, and prayers too.”

She hopes that ignorant people in Aotearoa will see the light.

“For them to be enlightened, the white supremacists, that's not what we do here, we love instead," she says.