MUS 149G From Rock to Reggae: Tracking Popular Music in New Zealand

MUS 149G | ARTS, BE, EDSW, EMHSS, LC | Summer School, Semester One & Two 2020 | City Campus


This course introduces New Zealand’s home-grown popular music, from roughly the 1950s to the present day. A broad range of musical styles will be considered and situated within various social contexts. The issue of cultural identity in music – at national and local levels – will also be explored. No previous knowledge of music is assumed.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you should:

  • Recognise New Zealand musical artists and works from a range of popular music genres, discuss some musical aspects of those works, and relate them to the broader contexts of New Zealand culture and society.
  • Be able to discuss notions of national culture and identity in New Zealand music, referring to specific examples where appropriate.
  • Understand New Zealand popular music history, and be able to contextualise it in New Zealand’s history since World War II.

Topics covered

  • Survey of the development of popular music traditions and diverse styles in New Zealand from the 1950s to the present
  • Survey of contemporary music with reference to music which exists between easily identifiable genres


Essays up to 1000 words (30%; 2 at 15%)
Listening tests (10%, 2 at 5% each)
Final examination (60%)

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