Solo voice

Almost an island

Solo voice

For soprano and piano

Haiku by the Otago Peninsula writing group

The first performance of Almost an island was given by Ana Good (soprano) and Joyce Whitehead (piano) on 21 March 2007 at a reunion of Otago University Mozart Fellows in Dunedin.

About the work

Almost an Island, a phrase which refers to the Otago Peninsula, was written as a wedding present for my then neighbours, Breffni and Dave.

The poets are Eleanor Koch, Kay Sinclair, Fran Bolgar, my sister Joyce Whitehead and me.

Scores and recordings

Buy or borrow the score from SOUNZ. An archival recording of the first performance can also be borrowed from SOUNZ.

Almost an island — SOUNZ

Mozart Fellows Concert 2007 Vol. 1 — CD

Awa herea

Solo voice

Song cycle for soprano and piano

Text by the composer with translations into Māori by Keri Kaa

Awa herea was commissioned by soprano Tracey Chadwell with assistance from Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council (now Creative New Zealand) and the Arts Council of Great Britain. The first performance was given by Tracey Chadwell and Margaret Nielsen (piano) on 15 July 1993 in the Adam Concert Room at Victoria University School of Music.

About the work

I wrote the words for Awa herea as I was travelling round Te Wai Pounamu — the south island of Aotearoa. The title means ‘braided rivers’.

The work is in 8 sections: Vocalise, Karakia, Awa Herea, The Berries, Lake Ianthe, Scale and perspective, The Sandfly, Awa Herea (conclusion).

After a vocalise and karakia, the song Awa Herea draws on imagery of the east coast rivers. It suggests that a single thread, though strong, has an end — 2 threads, woven together, are much stronger.

The Berries describes a scene walking from Ship Cove in the Marlborough Sounds. Lake Ianthe reacts to a beautiful scene where there is knowledge that behind the fringe of beauty the forest is being clear felled, while Scale and perspective and The Sandfly deal with the comparative length of life cycles. The final section concludes the work; many strands woven together form an enduring, infinite, colourful cloth.

Scores and recordings

Buy or borrow the score and recordings from SOUNZ.

Awa herea — SOUNZ

The full work has been recorded by Tracey Chadwell.

Tracey Chadwell’s Song Book — CD

One movement, Karakia, has been recorded by Mere Boynton.

Waikohu — CD

The first movement, Vocalise, is included in an educational resource for primary schools.

Ears wide open – Taringa areare — publication

Because of the child

Solo voice

For mezzo-soprano

Poem by Fiona Farrell

The first performance of Because of the Child was given by Ana Good in March 2013.

About the work

Because of the child was written for the launch of Sir Alan Mark’s risk assessment project, which invites the parties of government to join forces and consider the risks facing Aotearoa New Zealand, particularly from climate change.


You can borrow or buy the score from SOUNZ.

Because of the child


Solo voice

For soprano and harp

Text by Rachel Bush

Cicadas was commissioned by harpist Helen Webby, with funding from Creative New Zealand. She, together with Pepe Becker (soprano) gave the first performances.

About the work

Cicadas was written for Helen Webby’s CD Pluck, for which she commissioned new harp works by 9 New Zealand composers.

The text is taken from the poem of the same name by Rachel Bush, with her kind permission, and was published in her collection Nice Pretty Things, published by Victoria University Press in 2011.

Score and recording

Buy or borrow the score and recording from SOUNZ.

Cicadas — SOUNZ

Pluck — CD


Solo voice

For mezzo soprano and piano

Text by Claire Beynon

Consider is dedicated to Prague-based pianist Patricia Goodson and was written for her to sing and play.

E Haki

Solo voice

For solo voice

Text by the composer

‘Haki’ is the Maori transliteration of ‘Jack’. E Haki was written for Mere Boynton to sing at a celebratory concert for Jack Body’s 70th birthday concert in Auckland on 30 April 2014. It was again sung by Mere at his memorial 13 months later.

About the work

A traditional Maori form uses the movement of the poi, telling of a journey around Aotearoa, linking places of significance to the singer, in terms of whakapapa, or ancestry. In terms of performance, E Haki will usually be preceded by a karanga — a call summoning the people, and explaining the purpose of the gathering.

About the text

My poi tells of Jack’s journey over plains and rivers from Te Aroha to Auckland then swings over the great waves to the places of learning in Europe. My poi shimmers in the warm air of Indonesia, home of Yono, Jack’s dearest friend, then skims like a flying fish home to Wellington.

A rangatira, kind and generous, strong-hearted, of peaceful spirit.
A branch of the titoki will not break.
Is there a river so wide it cannot be crossed?
His music is that of the tui, his voice that of the bellbird.
This is the composer, this is the man we celebrate.
Dance, Jack, today.

Score and recordings

The score is reproduced in Jack! celebrating Jack Body, composer published by Steele Roberts.

Jack! — publication

See performances of E Haki online

E Haki at 2014 Jack Body 70th year tribute concert — video

E Haki at 2015 Jack Body memorial — video

E Haki at 2015 book launch of Jack! — video