Blue Smoke

[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.

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R.I.P. Guru

Under the Lights

Under the Lights

Mr Turner's slides circa 1960


admin February 28 2011

kia ora Lorraine

Chris Collier July 20 2011

Hi Are any of you related to the Karaitiana whanau of Clive in Hawkes Bay ?

admin August 7 2011

I don’t think so unless they are from Dannevirke.

hana karaitiana September 27 2010

hi aunt Nita this is nick & Mary karaitiana daughter Hana u will probably remember me bcos im partially blind but that dnt stop me seeing the brown bottle lol. gosh alot of years have past since we’ve seen u & the family. it wuld bgud 2 catch up with u & the 3 cousins again n da near future. dads stil wrkn hard 4 a 76yr old i think it wuld kill him 2 retire he has more energy den all his kids put 2getha haha. it wuld b nice 2 hea frm the cousins if they want 2 email me on bebo or face-book. lots of arohanui to u & the whanau aunty frm all of us over the ditch. xoxoxo….

Lorraine Hope February 21 2011

My mother is a Karaitiana – one of 14 children. Reminiscing and fantastic to find this on Google.

maureen July 20 2010

Hi, My name is maureen Graham I used to live in Ocean View,Brighton in the 50s&60s and spent many a time up on Saddle Hill in the snow on our sledges and raiding the orchards while walking up there.why im sending is as im getting a little older ive come across the song about Saddle Hill ,I was told of the words but not sure how the tune goes as I would love to have it played at my tangi when the time comes,Is there any way I could get a copy of it at all.I also remember a Chettleburgh family there in Ocean View when I lived there .I also have the book called Under The Eye Of The Saddle Hill Taniwha.Thanking you Na Maureen.

admin July 20 2010

The only place to find a copy i know of is from the Radio New Zealand Sound Archives. check this link for the details for Saddle Hill.
You can request a digital copy of the original record from the site. Good Luck.

nita karaitiana September 2 2010

a beautiful song that my husband used to sing would love to get a copy of the song as it brings lots of happy memories of my departed husband Lester Karaitiana

Judith Marie Pickett April 26 2010

Love it! my Mother has only been gone for three years and used to talk about Ruru Karaitiana as a wonderful singer

admin April 26 2010

Fantastic, singer as well, that is right. i love hearing peoples stories of how these people have touched their lives. thank you.

gretta May 10 2010

Sooo good, can’t believe that’s your Uncle, it’s one of those songs that you know so well but have no idea where you heard it, I wish there were people making this kind of music now, makes me happy