Story: National anthems

James McDermott

James McDermott

James McDermott (left) is pictured with other officials of the Post and Telegraph Department in 1935. From this time he became interested in the poetry of Thomas Bracken, and began promoting the use of 'God defend New Zealand' as a national song. In 1938 he succeeded in persuading the Centennial Council to back his campaign, and in 1939 Joe Heenan, secretary of the council, wrote to him, 'Dear Mac, You certainly are a battler, and when you die I will have all the bands of New Zealand and all the choral societies performing "God Defend New Zealand" over your grave ... Now, do you want any greater monument than that?'

Using this item

Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: AAMF W3327 Box 375 P0004

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'National anthems - History of ‘God defend New Zealand’', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 8 October 2022)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 20 Jun 2012