Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Search options


One of the fundamental elements of a thriving cultural scene is a thriving musical scene. This site is a tribute to the decades of music that have contributed to Wellington’s sound, a browsable portal to our physical CD collection, as well as a hub for all the bands & musicians releasing their music in a digital format.

With this page we’re hoping to create something that is both a history of Wellington music and bands, but also a page that can act as a repository for audio, video, photographic & other related material. It’s a page created by us, but something which we hope many will end up contributing to.

From the foundation of the Wellington Orchestra Society in 1879, to the modern waterfront festival ‘Homegrown’ and everything inbetween music has almost literally shaped the landscape. Like swinging wartime respite was had in fabled jazz-clubs, locals today find themselves entertained at a variety of renowned venues spanning arenas, bars and majestic old-lights like the Opera House and St. James Theatre. Wellington is home to institutions like The New Zealand School of Music, The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and continually produces and fosters exceptional musicianship right from New Zealand’s first pop-song ‘Blue Smoke’ to composer John Psathas, to New Zealand rock-royalty Shihad.

But what is the ‘sound of Wellington’? Is it the oft trumpeted (both figuratively & literally) fusion of roots rock, Jazz & Reggae, a kind of ‘Dub On A Summer’s Day’? Or is it something else, something more? Is it a sound, or a certain prevalence of music or genres that defines Wellington, that unites its musicians? Or is it the musicians themselves? Is it the tight geography, the closeness of contact that can exist within short travelling distances? Or is it the melding of cultural influences, Maori & Pasefika, with European, Caribbean & American stylings. Is it the draw of the Capital’s music scene & the Massey Jazz School that pulls young people from all over the country? Or is it some mysterious amalgamation of all of the elements above?

The ‘sound’ or ‘sounds’ that comprise and define Wellington music encompass not just the work of musicians born in Wellington but also strongly reflect the sound, feel & culture of people from everywhere who have moved to Wellington & adopted it, temporarily or permanently, as their home. When the Jazz school Musicians, with classical/jazz based academic playing & knowledge apply that skill-set to different bands styles, all sorts of interesting & eclectic relationships and sounds are formed. Musical and social networks are created. Competition for gigs & professional studio work creates a collected pool of eclecticism, a knowledge and talent that spans the range of genres. An independent ‘non-commercial’ attitude prevails; the ‘scene’ is in many ways a ‘collective’. Bands don’t define themselves as one genre, musicians play on each others albums and shift between styles (and groups, or aggregations) as fluidly as notes between bars. Music is ‘work-shopped’, instrumentation & attitudes combine, but from this rich mix, filtered through Lee Prebble’s ‘Surgery Studio’ or the warm acoustics of living rooms & sheds, comes what we identify as the sound of home, the sound of Wellington.

Music in Wellington is a story still growing and we hope with this site you can explore and experience the diversity of those that enliven Wellington’s airwaves.

Contact Us:
We are in the process of continually updating this site. Feel free to contact us if we do not yet have your band listed in our database, or if you wish to add/update a band profile or provide us with information or promotional material regarding any upcoming releases or gigs.

All articles/photos/images posted on this site are done so with the permission of the copyright holder, however if you are the author/photographer/designer of any material and wish us to take it down please contact us.

Wellington Music: music@wcl.govt.nz

One Reply to “About”

  1. Mohamed Aden Isse

    Yo, aimBOT here. I have a few ideas on how to bring Wellington Music to a broader audience. My ideas could make a splash, or not—who knows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *