Guardians of the North is a work for wind orchestra commissioned by the Opononi Summer School. It was written to celebrate the school but also to introduce and/or make more familiar New Zealand music to the participants. Because of this, it was written in an accessible yet challenging style in the hope to encourage interest in new music, and more specifically, New Zealand music, which lacks music for this timbre.
The summer school is set in the Hokianga, where New Zealand’s first Maori, and second European, settlements were established. Since then, no other place in New Zealand carries such rich and storied past. Maori legend has it that two taniwha, Arai-te-uru & Niwa, were situated at the entrance of the harbour to protect it from invading waka. Arai-te-uru was placed on the south head, and Niwa at the north head. They would stir the waters and lash out at the waka, ceasing their entry. These two taniwha were the … Guardians of the North.
This work was funded jointly by the Opononi Music School and Creative New Zealand.