About our name

Learn about the meaning of our Māori name, Te Kōkī.

Te Kōkī

Our Māori name, Te Kōkī, is most simply translated as the 'dawn chorus'. A feature of early Aotearoa–New Zealand was a vocal and melodic dawn chorus produced by an abundance of native birds that dwelt within its dense forests. To Māori the birds are te reo o Tāne, the voice of the God of the Forest, and from whom many instruments are also fashioned.

Traditionally, Māori musicians listened daily to te kōkī, drawing inspiration from its cadences, melodies, harmonies and rhythms. The name Te Kōkī thus embodies Māori music learning in Aotearoa, and, in response to a request, was given to the New Zealand School of Music to provide it with a distinctive 'Aotearoa-New Zealand' identity.

'DawnChorus' has been chosen as the name of the e-newsletter published each month by NZSM detailing news and events hosted by or happening at the School.