New Zealand National Anthem

In New Zealand we have two national anthems of equal status: God of Nations and God Save the Queen. God of Nations was written as a poem/prayer by Thomas Bracken of Dunedin in the 1870’s and was set to the music of John Joesph Woods of Lawrence in 1876. On Christmas Day that year it was first performed in Dunedin but did not become an official national anthem until 1977.  A Māori version was written in 1878 and today the first verses of both the English and Māori are commonly sung at events where as a nation we are stressing our national identity – ie before a sporting test. But I also like to sing it as a prayer.

Please consider it carefully and pray it. For those of us in the Wakatipu, especially as we seek God’s guidance in establishing the Wakatipu Global Community, this is a particularly appropriate prayer. These old words speak to our situation today. We seek to worship together, men and women from the nations, our responsibility before God is to call all people of every race to come and know God, to worship God and to grow in faith.

God of nations! at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our Free Land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star,
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand

Men of ev’ry creed and race
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our Free Land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our State,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.

Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our Free Land.
Lord of battles in thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our Free Land.
From dishonour and from shame
Guard our country’s spotless name
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom’s ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our Free Land.
Guide her in the nations’ van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy Glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.