Music is primarily personal, in creation, use and publication.  However, many compositions/arrangements of music, and words, exist in copyright records.

War encouraged people to attempt musical creation and there are collections of Second World War music, often patriotic, much of it in manuscript.

One major search aid, now not generally available, was created twenty years ago:

Music at National Archives: Sources for the Study of Music in New Zealand Ross Harvey  School of Music, University of Canterbury 1991


Copyright records are a principal source for New Zealand music and songs.

In New Zealand, copyright protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films, communications and the typographical arrangement of published editions.

Copyright protects the expression of ideas or information, not the ideas or information themselves.

Copyright comes into existence automatically when a work is put into material form, such as manuscript or audio/video recording.

In 1886 copyright was added to the functions of the Patent Office and it was, until 1962, administered by a copyright registrar, creating the records held.  Issues arising were increasingly decided in the courts. In 1962 government control of copyright ended.


Copyright Applications Index 1886-1963 [(AEGA 18985) PC 5/1-16]

Copyright Record Cards c.1955-1985 [AAFH 7306 W4771/1-2]

Copyright Subject Files 1886-1963

Yearly number files 1886-1914

Straight number files 1914-1963

A few SEPS individually listed [(AEGA 18981) PC 4/1-260]

Miscellaneous Copyright Records 1886-1963 [(AEGA 18992) PC 13/1-13] [WAII 2 (Box 61) 74]

Interesting Titles [PC 4]

Some files include printed music (p); most are in manuscript (ms).

Ping Pong  Corbett, Jean C  1902 (p) [PC 4 02/37]

E-N-L-I-S-T  Clarke, Arthur 1915 (ms) [PC 4 832]

There’s someone in the firing line  Flynn, Percy 1916 (ms) [PC 4 877]

When I am dead my dearest  Foster, Audrey G 1923 (ms) [PC 4 1444]

The All Blacks: a song with a kick in it Hiscocks, Harry  1924 (p) [PC 4 1827]

Out of Work  Sinclair, Lester 1926 (ms) [PC 4 2090]

What makes bananas bendy  Sugden, Edna 1926 (ms) [PC 4 2075]

I’ve got the Flu  Coventry, Harry 1927 (ms) [PC 4 2101]

It’s not the cough that carries you off Lee, Clarvie & Henden, Bert 1928 (ms) [PC 4 2326]

It’s moments like these you need “Minties”  Henden, Bert & Sharp, David 1932 (ms) [PC 4 2772]

The girl with stout muscles to row  Elliott, George H 1950 (ms) [PC 4 5349]

What’s the use in spreading your umbrella  Freedman, Samuel 1950 (p) [PC 4 5292]


Music was very important to both the troops and those at home during the Second World War and files were created about war music.

The troops created new words for well-known tunes, and occasionally original songs. Lively and at times crude, these were often very different from the ‘patriotic’ songs and marches composed at home and sometimes printed as sheet music (p).  Some soldiers wrote thoughtful poems about their experiences.

Towards the end of the Second World War an appeal went out for copies of songs and verses created during the war. These were collected by War Archives.

War Archives

Verse, Songs, Marches  [WAII 1 (Box 314) DA 426/1-72]

Mostly verses of soldiers’ experiences and of home views of war. Some wartime song books; words for well-known tunes; some music.  The files include:

No.1 ‘O Mr Fraser won’t you send us home’ words to tune ‘Lili Marlene’ banned by government

No.2 ‘The Army Nurses Song’ by Anania Amohau (p) (also in Box 61 below)

‘Maori Battalion Marching Song’ by A Amohau (p) plus handwritten words

Miscellaneous Items: War Music, Sheet Music of 2NZEF 1946 [WAII 2 (Box 60) 73]

Printed and manuscript songs, words & music, mostly very patriotic; including:

‘Poor Mister Schickelgruber (p) about Hitler

‘The Don is Running Red’ (p) supporting Russia

Miscellaneous Items: NZ Military Forces Army Headquarters - War Songs - Official – Collection 1943-1947 [WAII 2 (Box 61) 74 343/2/24]

Correspondence about the collecting of war songs.

Miscellaneous Items: War Music, Sheet Music of 2NZEF 1946 [WAII 2 (Box 61) 74]

Some sheet music; mostly manuscripts of songs; a few poems and correspondence.  Some material relating to RNZAF; a few Kiwi Concert Party songs.

Miscellaneous Items: Navy - War Music 1946 [WAII 2 (Box 64) 75]

Small collection, manuscript words with some music.

Kiwi Concert Party

2NZEF – NZ Forces Club Cairo – Freyberg’s Circus – The Story of the Kiwi Concert Party Vol.1 Formation to 1943, Return to NZ 1940-1943, Vol.2 Italy 1940-1943 [WAII 1 (Box 210) DA203/15/2 parts 1&2]

2NZEF – NZ Entertainment Unit – Miscellaneous – Kiwi Concert Party’s Souvenir Programmes 1942-1943 [WAII 1 (Box 210) DA203/15/1]

2NZEF – Fiji Section Registered Files – Kiwi Concert Party (Pacific) 1943-1944 [WAII 2 20/33]

Army Department

Bands – Special Force – Formation of 1940-1943 [AD 1 (Box 1410) 343/1/1 (parts 1-2)]

About formation of military bands; no music.

Bands ‘All Blacks Marching Song’ by Johnnie Farrell 1940  (No words or music) [AD 1 (Box 1410) 343/2/8]

Bands – Music – 2ndNZEF 1943-1944 [AD 1 (Box 1410) 343/2/26]

About collecting war songs, but includes one: ‘A Snappy Marching Song THE WRENS’.

Bands – Song “Maoriland” [AD 1 (Box 1410) 343/2/27]

Song “Maoriland” submission of Mary Blair, Kaiti, Gisborne, and two other songs.

Welfare & Entertainment – troops 1942-1948 [AD 1 (Box 1451) 358/13/1]

Welfare – Music 1943 [AD 1 (Box 1451) 358/13/3 (part 1)]

Making music/entertainment available to the armed forces, in many ways (and below parts 2-4).

Welfare – Music & Concert Parties 1943-1945 [AD 1 (Box 1452) 358/13/3 (parts 2-4)]

Welfare – Musical Tuition for Armed Forces 1943-1946 [AD 1 (Box 1453) 358/13/23]

Gracie Fields’ Tour 1945 [AD 1 (Box 1453) 358/13/24]

Welfare – Armed Services – Operatic Society 1943-1946 [AD 1 (Box 1453) 358/13/25]

File includes a few photographs.

Internal Affairs

Miscellaneous – Songs (World War II) [IA 1 (Box 3000) 158/54/1-9]

A few songs enclosed; files about songs; such as:

No.9 ‘Maori Song – “Now is the Hour” –origin and history of’ 1948-1973

War history – war music – general file [IA 1 (Box 3384) 181/15]

War history – war music – appeal [IA 1 (Box 3384 181/15/1 part 2]


Archives New Zealand holds many administrative records of this orchestra, found by ARCHWAY searching. For personnel files see Research Guide 7 Government Employment