This is a children’s musical picture book. I wrote the words, Laughton composed thirteen songs while we were on The Katherine Mansfield Fellowship in the south of France. Jez Tuya painted the wonderful illustrations. The CD of songs is in the back of the book. It tells the story of the first successful tracking of a godwit from Aotearoa to Alaska and back again. The data proved that the flight back here is the longest non-stop migration on the planet – 8 days. Alas The Very Important Godwit is out of print. I keep hoping Penguin Random House will reprint because there is a great deal of interest in godwits these days.
The Education Department’s Learning Media published many songs by Laughton and me in their annual CD album – Kiwi Kidsongs – which was sent to all schools in New Zealand, e.g.Cut Lunch Blues, My Mum’s a Taxi, Y2K, Turangawaewae, Spider-Pungawerewere (and available through SOUNZ).
Capital E, National Children’s Theatre performed and toured several musical shows written by us – Seasons, On Our Street, Around the World and Buck Again, all registered with Playmarket NZ.
You can listen to some song excerpts below.
Born With a Map in Your Head: From our children’s picture book The Very Important Godwit. This song tells of how a godwit can make the 8-day flight, non-stop, from Alaska to New Zealand.
Turangawaewae: This song comes from a show of the same name. We were commissioned to write it in 1990. Many schools in the Wellington region performed the show each with its own local additions. This recording is from the Porirua performance where 9 schools joined to produce a wonderful celebration of song and dance.
My Mum’s A Taxi: A song from the show Turangawaewae. Writing from a schoolkid in Porirua gave me the idea for the words.
Spider – Pungawerewere: From the show Seasons, which Capital E has toured through New Zealand 5 times
Y2K: This song was commissioned by Learning Media for inclusion in their year 2000 Kiwi Kidsongs CD. Nearly every school in New Zealand sang it. A music teacher from the UK asked if she could use it in the Royal Albert Hall for her massed choirs. Of course we said yes. Laughton and I are pretty proud of this one. The words of the song are a bit sobering today.
Around the world the people gather; And silently they face the coming dawn
The turning planet peels the dark of night; A new millennium is born
What shining truth will we uncover; What will we write on this new page?
Will we go blind into a dying world; Or recreate a golden age?
E rua mano, te tau e rua mano; He take nui; He awatea
A leap into the future ; Or just another day?
Will the world be filled with wonder? Will our minds be blown away?
And will there be an end to war in Y2K?
Or will we still see children die of hunger every day?