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

MUS 149G | ARTS, BE, EDSW, EMHSS, LC* | Summer School, Semester One, Semester Two 2021 | City Campus | 15 points

*Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music conjoint students cannot take this General Education course.


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

Student Feedback

'The lecturer was very engaging and his passion really helped me to be engaged with the content.'

'Great choice of music!'

'I enjoyed learning about the general history of NZ music. Now when I turn on the radio, I understand the socio–political context – what/who people are talking about when the general banter is going on. A truly great course 10/10 would recommend.'

'It was really interesting to go back in time to discover how music came to have different genres. Learning about the music industry and how artists became known for their music. But most importantly seeing the lecturer enjoying himself while teaching us. I enjoyed this class and the mood the songs always brought into action.'

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