[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Blue Smoke sheet music c/o Te Papa Museum"][/caption]
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This is the only original rendition i could find of Blue Smoke, the first ever recorded and released NZ pop song. Composed by my great uncle Ruru Karaitiana who lived with his people in rural Dannevirke. A natural musician and confident on the piano and guitar Ruru started a band called the Ruru Karaitiana Quartet and with his fellow musicians would travel to Wellington in the weekends to play late night club gigs and then return back to the farm in rural southern Hawkes Bay.
As Ruru was leaving to go to war a friend commented on the blue smoke coming from the ship and that was the inspiration to write this song. On returning to New Zealand the song was recorded and released in 1949 and two years later was covered by Dean Martin.
My grandmother recalls Ruru asking her to sing with the band with just one condition, she change her name from Huia to Jo, Ruru didn't think the maori name would help her cause. She flatly refused and apart from family gatherings never sang publicly with her husbands cousin.