A 17 November 1977 supplement to the New Zealand Gazette announced that the national anthems of New Zealand shall be the traditional anthem 'God Save the Queen' and 'God Defend New Zealand', thus granting equal status to both.
Both anthems can be performed at the same occasion however God Save The Queen is generally used for occasions where Her Majesty The Queen, a member of the Royal Family, or the Governor-General is officially present, or when loyalty to the Crown is emphasised.
God Defend New Zealand is appropriate when the national identity of New Zealand is the focus, even in association with a toast to Her Majesty as Queen of New Zealand.
Using both anthems
You may use both anthems at the same occasion but usually the one that is most appropriate to the event is played or performed. Examples of where both are performed are occasions like the State Opening of Parliament, certain Government House receptions and church services, the national observance of Commonwealth Day and Anzac Day.
Performing English and Māori versions
There are no guidelines for performing God Defend New Zealand in both English and Māori, and you can choose which order to sing the versions in. When singing the first verse in Māori the practice is to repeat the verse in English.
You are allowed to arrange the anthems but you can’t change the words of God Defend New Zealand and God Save The Queen. Please forward new arrangements to us along with copyright details and a contact point for future reference.
Performing foreign anthems
The precedence for when the New Zealand National Anthem and the Anthem from another country is being played at a function is that as the host country, New Zealand's anthem is played last.
To find out more about performing the national anthems contact us.