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  • Writer's pictureJoel Dwek & Danny Wiser

World Music Advent Calendar - December 3rd

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

NEW ZEALAND: A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree - Kingi Ihaka

In some ways, this song is a perfect encapsulation of New Zealand today, celebrating its Maori culture, whilst also honouring its firmly Western identity. An adaptation of the popular English carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, this kiwi version substitutes each of the gifts referenced in the original with a New Zealander equivalent. Examples of these range from five golden rings becoming five big fat pigs, the classic partridge in a pear tree becoming a pukeko (a typical New Zealand bird) in a ponga tree – the tree whose fern has come to symbolise the nation. This is a perfect example of how songs popularised across the world can be adapted and adjusted to include more culturally significant reference points.


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