Because of its near isolated condition, New Zealand rock
bands didn’t really take off until the 1960s. This was when
the so-called “British Invasion” (headed by the Beatles) hit
the island shores and influenced New Zealand’s musicians. A
large number of “garage bands” or “backyard bands” were
formed, all of which with performing styles of seemingly
Even though only a few became globally or even locally
famous, these bands served as catalysts to bring to life a
quite considerable national music scene involving fans and
musicians. A large part of their music has been compiled for
the Wild Things collections by John Baker.
The best known New Zealander contribution to the pop music
world is that of Richard O’Brien’s musical the Rocky Horror
Show which was first performed on the London stage in 1973.
A mainstream sound which was more hard rock had developed in
the early 1970s in new Zealand. Bands like Space Farm, Hello
Sailor, Billy T.K.’s Human Instinct, Dragon, and Living
Force are examples of this movement in NZ music.
The size of New Zealand meant that the majority of the more
mainstream and prominent bands in the country found the bulk
of their audience in Australia.
The most prominent of these
is the band founded in the early 70s by Phil Judd and Tim
Finn called Split Enz.
When Neil Finn, the younger brother
of Tim, joined the band after Judd left it, the style became
more accessible and they produced much more big hots. When
Split Enz “split up”, the Crowded House was Neil Finn’s next
The OMC, an Otara, Auckland group in the middle of the 90s
had a big global hit called “How Bizarre”. This song, even
today, is noted for the production of its
beats-and-acoustic-guitar. The single sold more 35,000
copies locally, which meant three and a half times platinum
and which figure has not been exceeded as of 2008 in New
In the wake of global trends, the independent rock scene in
New Zealand became increasingly famous in the 1990s until
the early years of 2000. Auckland, Christchurch, and Dunedin
are among modern New Zealand’s most active cities in the
independent scene. Soulseller, Tiger Tones, The Brunettes,
The Shocking Pinks, Pig Out, Stomp Box, and The Mint Chicks
are the current important bands in the country.
Flight of the Concords, a New Zealand comedy band recently
rose to popularity and they became a no.1 hit in the country
and had an impressive fan base in the United States which
made them very famous and popular.
The beginnings of hip hop in New Zealand rose from certain
influences as The Warriors, a 1979 gangster flick in the US,
and the immense popularity of breakdancing, both of which
came from the Big Apple, the city of New York. One of the 5
elements of the hip hop movement is breakdancing.
A new form of hip hop called Roots started in the 21st
century. A combination of reggae, electronica, and dub
music, Roots has a strong grip on the Wellington music