Indigenous choir shunned for NZ Music Month

 —  01/06/2010

We need your help.

NZ Music Month has just come to an end. All month we listened to the radio and, apart from Radio New Zealand, nobody’s giving our favourite band any airtime.

They go by the name SAVE – the Society of Avian Vocal Entertainers. They play every morning and play an encore every evening too. Hell, these guys gig harder than Katchafire!

SAVE has many members, far too many to mention them all right now, but here are just a few of the marquee players (we would have a kiwi too, but let’s be honest, those guys get enough publicity as it is). Take a listen to the band and then find out how you can help:

Kakapo. Photo by Sam O'Leary.

Kakapo. Photo by Sam O’Leary.

Kakapo – Skraaark! BOOOM! Man, you name it, I’ll do it. I beatbox almost as good as Beardyman does, and sometimes the fellas push me up front to kick some raps, usually freestyle, like: “I’m like Skrraaark! I hang in National Paaarks, you might’ve seen me humpin’ the head of this guy named Maaaark” anyway… stuff like that. I BOOM and Skraaark mostly though, have a listen.

 Download the kakapo *song* here

Piwakawaka (fantail). Photo by Sam O'Leary.

Piwakawaka (fantail). Photo by Sam O’Leary

Piwakawaka – Sup, I’m Pi (pronounced: pee – I know, I copped it back at school). I take care of the high frequency rhythm section, known to drummers as the hi-hats. Sometimes I get a bit distracted though when people walk past, kicking up worms and stuff. Mmm, worms.

Download the fantail song here

Bellbird. Photo by Dick Veitch.

Bellbird. Photo by Dick Veitch.

Bellbird – Belle’s the name. I had a hard time getting into SAVE to begin with, and it was mainly because of the pesky tui, that guy does such a good impression of my song! But the raw truth is that I just do it better. Sure, I can’t do the phone, or the starling, but I really do nail my call and that’s why I’m here.

Download the bellbird song here

Chatham Island albatross. Photo by Sam O'Leary.

Chatham Island albatross. Photo by Sam O’Leary.

Albatross The guys call me Gammy, even though I prefer Albie. I’m mostly rhythm, I mean, who else can clack their jaw like this!

Download the albatross song here

Yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho). Photo by Sam O'Leary.

Yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho). Photo by Sam O’Leary.

Yellow-Eyed Penguin – I’m a pretty recent member of SAVE, and I don’t hang around in trees like some of these other weirdos. I don’t really even know why they want me in the band, I’m kindof tone deaf – my Maori name Hoiho means ‘noisy shouter’! – I think band-leader Sirocco might just have a thing for rare birds.

Download the hoiho song here

Morepork (ruru). Photo by Sam O'Leary.

Morepork (ruru). Photo by Sam O’Leary.

Morepork – I’m usually only in the studio, ‘cos I’m a bit of a night-owl (see what I did there). I’m not really one for playing live gigs, but if you cock your head in the direction of your window, you’ll hear me most nights.

Download the morepork song here

Grey warbler. Photo by MF Soper.

Grey warbler. Photo by MF Soper.

Grey Warbler – All this fuss about a Spokesbird when I WAS THE BIRD OF THE BLOODY YEAR!! Look, I just can’t talk right now, I’m too mad. But you’ll probably hear me in the bush. (Okay… it was a couple of years ago that I was bird of the year).

Download the grey warbler song here

Kea. Photo by Timothy Ensom.

Kea. Photo by Timothy Ensom.

Kea –  Yeah I hear you Grey, this lazy budgie is taking all our glory, like how I’m supposed to be the cheeky one… I bet Sirocco’ll leave soon, and start his own solo thing. He’s getting too big for his boots, keeps saying I play the mountain-skraark too.

Download the kea song here

North Island kokako. Photo by Sarah King.

North Island kokako. Photo by Sarah King.

Kokako – Ah, these guys… Least there’s nothing like me around! But I do miss my South Island step-sisters … they would have been great in this band.

Download the kokako song here

How you can help

Well, we reckon it’s about time we made a big change around here, and we need our fans to make some noise. We reckon our hit The Dawn Chorus shoud be our new National Anthem.

Download the dawn chorus here

How about at the Rugby World Cup this year, we watch our All Blacks listen to our special dawn chorus, instead of watching them pretend to sing God Defend New Zealand?  This is the true sound of New Zealand, the sound that Captain Cook once described as ‘deafening’.  What do you guys think?

Leave a comment below if you want to help SAVE – The Dawn Chorus.


34 responses to Indigenous choir shunned for NZ Music Month


    Knowledgeable, but entertaining, as are many of your posts. I love NZ Music!

    heather Kavanagh 19/07/2010 at 1:23 am

    LOVED THIS!!!!!
    Especially playing together, A beautiful dawn chorus.
    All the best with getting it recognised more in NZ and talso throughout the world. Will definitely share with my German friends here in Dresden, who have such wonderful memories of nature holdiays in NZ.


    I love the dawn chorus and am bummed it was shunned.


    Hi again guys,

    I’ve just added download links to each of the bird recordings. You can right click and ‘Save as’ or just click on them and they’ll probably download or stream too. Hopefully you can chuck them in your phone just like this.



    Alright, we’ve done a bit of digging around the show, and you sure can get these ringtones.

    First though, a disclaimer: DOC’s not endorsing these providers, in fact we might have to get into the birdsong ringtone business ourselves sometime. 😀

    Vodafone has a page for Birds of New Zealand here:

    Telecom has a couple of options, in both their Animal and Nature collection: and TXT tones here:

    And we can suggest to iPhone & iTunes users, just have a search in iTunes, and see what you can find 🙂

    I’ll be adding some download links to this post for you guys too.



    If anyone is interested in sounds of the New Zealand bush, I just found this website a good eclectic mix and you can purchase them to.


    Wow thankyou all so much for reading and commenting! We’ll see what we can do about some ringtone info, and we may be able to provide download links to the tunes we have here 🙂 stay tuned.



    Could the ringtones be organised so that I can download from the UK (which is where I am right now). Thanks!

    Emma Hartley 09/06/2010 at 10:04 am

    Ring tones would be awesome. I know that Telecom has native birdsong txt tones. I’m using a kokako one right now, it’s such a beautiful but somewhat eerie sound – I love it. There’s also bellbird, kiwi, weka, tui and a few others. I’m not sure what Telecom has for ringtones or if the other networks do something similar – does anyone know?


    great idea, i’m keen for some tracks if you want to release some for donwload. They sound beautiful, great for meditation too.
    I buy a magazine called wellbeing and they always have a free cd with new age tracks on it, they have just launched a nz version, maybe you could talk to them about being in their mag or on their cd.
    They have some very interesting articles that appeal to the more mainstream new ager too. Check it out.


    Yes yes! Ring tones please! How perfect!

    Blair Nathan 08/06/2010 at 2:32 pm

    loved the sounds, be nice to download for cell phone ringtones .. luv it

    Kathy Strickland 08/06/2010 at 1:52 pm

    Dawn chorus brings back memories of 3 weeks of tent camping in NZ 10 years ago. 3 months would have been even better.

    Andrew Thrift 08/06/2010 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for the sounds, I have been calming myself down by pressing play on all of the bird calls. It has given the office a certain je ne sait quoit that I feel was missing.

    Next we need NZ Native mammals (seals etc, and the odd whale), plus what about an half hour of “Countryside sounds”, i.e stick a microphone on a farm and relay the sounds over a live stream, a Country Sound Cam. That’d keep us happy 🙂


    Love it. Brought back so many memories from my childhood when we lived in the King Country and I had to get up at dawn in time to catch the bus to school


    Hah, fantastic! If I had the skill and time, I’d compile these into some sort of a re-mix!


    One of the first things you may need to do to get SAVE into NZ Music month is release a CD or possibly contact digirama and/or itunes so people can buy SAVE’S music. This would have the added benefit of contributing to DOC’s great work.


    I absolutely agree – play this instead of the national anthem! That would be great. And good idea to push all the buttons at once – made me think I was back in the NZ bush instead of listening to Tokyo crows!
    Diny Naus, Tokyo


    This is fabulous DOC. They should have had a spot SOMEWHERE through Music Month. I’m playing them all at once – which is brillliantly cacophanous!


    Playing the dawn chorus and my cats have gone into hunt mode… Very telling, the wild ones that are every where down here must cause havoc, suppose my 2 pets do too 🙁


      Hi Ian,

      Heh yep the felines sure do wreak a bit of havoc, they’re tailor-made for it after all. A couple of good ideas are to keep your cat in at night, and to put a little bell on their collar, to warn the birds of the pending feline 🙂

      Cheers for visiting!
      Sam O’Leary
      DOC Web Team.


    Brilliant. Thanks for making it happen. How about approaching Maori tv to have the Chorus played.


    That was lovely and I would vote for the Dawn Chorus were I a resident of NZ.


    Welcome back kiwinerd 🙂

    Cheers! And after posting I noticed it works quite well if you just push play on all of the players at once, you can have a real weird dawn chorus including penguins and albatross, or you can tailor it to your own taste 🙂 seaside vs forest!

    Sam O’Leary
    DOC Web Team.


      LOL! I did that before reading your post here about playing them all at once and was going to suggest you try it. Very nicely done and thanks for sharing.


    Love the idea.
    something indigenous would be better for both our flag and anthem.

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