Ditch the anthem?

Ditching the anthem is in the news.

Unfortunately it’s not the anthem we commonly use now, the dirge that asks a deity that has a poor record of defending people and countries to defend New Zealand.

It’s our other official anthem, the anthem that I used to have to stand to when I was a child. I remember reluctantly doing so at ‘the pictures’.

But also unfortunately, while God Save the Queen seems totally inappropriate for modern New Zealand, it’s not us considering ditching it as an anthem, it’s the British.

UK considers ditching anthem

British MPs have agreed to debate replacing England’s royalist anthem God Save the Queen.

The song is the national anthem of the United Kingdom and is played at sporting events where the four home nations – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – play as a team and when England competes separately.

Critics say another anthem for England would divide Britain by encouraging individual nationalisms, while supporters say it would re-establish the idea of four separate nations with separate identities.

If it’s good enough for the British to consider a more appropriate anthem in the modern world then it should be good enough for us to consider stopping clinging to an historical oddity.

Listening to the New Zealand anthem being sung isn’t as bad as it used to be now the Maori version is sung first, for some reason it sounds a lot better than the English version. It was written in 1878 but has only recently been used widely.

However when you see what it actually means…

E Ihowa Atua,
(Oh Lord, God)
O ngā iwi mātou rā,
(Of nations and of us too)
Āta whakarongona;
(Listen to us)
Me aroha noa
(Cherish us)
Kia hua ko te pai;
(Let goodness) flourish,
Kia tau tō atawhai;
(May your blessings flow)
Manaakitia mai
(Defend)
Aotearoa

…then it could do with re-writing. Modern secular New Zealand should leave the god stuff to churches and those who believe in it (about half of us) and have an anthem that we can all feel some pride in.

UPDATE: Stuff have picked up on this and are running a poll: Today’s talking point: Time to change the anthem