Taylor Drake

Taylor Drake

Blog #2: So It Begins

We’ve spent one week in New Zealand.

On our first day in Auckland, I stopped by a record store named “Real Groovy Records.” It had this beautiful flashing neon sign out front, and I couldn’t resist. We went in and took a look around. I showed the boys how to use a record player, we listened to some ABBA, and planned to head out. As we were heading up the steps, I heard a song – “Human,” by Kimbra. I started to sing along (because that song is my JAM), and I noticed a girl working at the counter was also singing along. We made eye contact, started jamming together, and had a cool little moment.

We stopped and chatted for a while about music, where we were from, etc. She told me she had a band, she was born in Eastern Europe and that her parents moved to NZ when she was a toddler, but she was planning on moving to London soon. This peaked my interest. From what I’d seen of New Zealand it was a wonderful place – why would anyone want to leave? She said it was because she didn’t have much of a chance to succeed here as an artist. The music that she made was neither mainstream enough nor “kiwiana” enough to gain any popularity.


Now there’s a word I’d never heard before; however, after hearing the girl’s explanation of it, it made perfect sense. It is the same concept as “Americana,” but for New Zealand – everything that is quintessentially Kiwi. The All Blacks, L&P soda, Kiri Te Kanawa, Māori – they all fit this concept of “Kiwiana.” 

But she felt like she didn’t. 

Even though Auckland has an incredible variety of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and origins, most everyone I’ve talked to considers it an outlier from New Zealand as a whole. So while this girl may have been welcomed in Auckland, she didn’t feel she fit the overall culture of NZ. On the other hand, she also said she liked living there. She’d never felt rejected or as though there wasn’t a place for her. But even so, she knew there was somewhere that would be better for her than here.

In addition to all of this, she also recommended an album by a New Zealand band, which I bought out of blind faith. I wasn’t disappointed. You can listen to it below if you wish. 🙂