Michael Brown
About Me:

I work as Curator Music at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington. I joined PHANZA in February 2013 after graduating with a PhD from the New Zealand School of Music (Victoria University of Wellington/Massey University).

My research has focused on various aspects on New Zealand music history, including folksong collecting, tramping songs, community singing, trade union and socialist singing, and the 'Maori strum' guitar style.

I was on the executive of the Labour History Project from 2008 for four years.

My blog is at:


New Zealand music history, folklore, labour, cultural history, Maori performing arts
Publications and Research:

‘“The Chantey” and “The Bush Poet”: James Cowan and vernacular song in New Zealand’, Journal of New Zealand Studies 19 (2015), 124-139.

‘Folk coffee-bars of 1960s Wellington’, AudioCulture—the noisy library of New Zealand music (online article, 2014).

‘Peter Cape‘, AudioCulture—the noisy library of New Zealand music (online article, 2014).

'Off the beaten track: the vernacular and the mainstream in New Zealand tramping club singsongs', in Redefining Mainstream Popular Music, ed. Andy Bennett, Jodie Taylor and Sarah Baker (New York: Routledge, 2013), 177-189.

'Many happy song-sessions: Kiwi Youth Sings', Labour History Project Newsletter 55 (2012), 14-19.

'Locating the vernacular in the Māori guitar strumming style', in World Music is Where We Found It: Essays by and for Allan Thomas, ed. Wendy Pond and Paul Wolffram (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2011), 116-130.

'Let's all sing! The community singing movement in New Zealand and its publications', Crescendo 79 (2008), 13-17.

'"Earnest Spade Work": The New Zealand Folklore Society, 1966-1975', Journal of Folklore Research 44/2-3 (2007), 127-160.

'The Mixer: Harry Kirk – The Bard of Greymouth', Trade Union History Project Newsletter 41 (2006), 8-10.

Subscription Details

PHANZA Joining Date:
Back to member directory