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Blue Smoke 70th Anniversary

Date: Wednesday 26 June 2019, 6pm to 12pm
Cost: Free. You don't need to book.
Contact details: events.natlib@dia.govt.nz
Part of the Pūkana series

Come and celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the iconic New Zealand song 'Blue Smoke' and Pixie Williams, our first homegrown ‘pop star’. Hear performances of songs Pixie Williams recorded including 'Blue Smoke'.

Celebrate New Zealand's first pop song 'Blue Smoke'

The 26 June date marks the 70th anniversary of the 1949 release of the iconic New Zealand song 'Blue Smoke', NZ’s first pop song and the birth of the New Zealand recording industry.

This event commemorates the occasion, and in particular singer Pixie Williams, our first homegrown ‘pop star’.

Pixie Williams

In June 1949, as an unknown 21-year old, Pikiteora (Pixie) Williams became a household name giving voice to Ruru Karaitiana’s song 'Blue Smoke'.

Both songwriter and singer hailed from the same iwi — Ngāti Kahungunu. Pixie came from Ngāti Pahauwera and Ruru from Ngāti Mutuahi o Rangitāne.

Mihi whakatau

The event will take the form of a mihi whakatau, followed by speakers acknowledging the contribution made by 'Blue Smoke', Pixie Williams and the team that wrote and recorded it.

The second half will include performances of some other songs Pixie recorded in her brief career, with a finale performance of 'Blue Smoke'. John Shear, one of the production team on the original recordings will talk about the impact the song and Pixie herself made.


Other guest speakers will be:

  • Hon Meka Whaitiri, Member for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti
  • Chris Bourke, who wrote the NZ music history entitled 'Blue Smoke', and
  • representatives from the major sponsors National Library, Massey University and Endev Software Development.
Blue Smoke Records