We need your support to shine the light on one of the most
important chapters in the history of New Zealand music. With your
help we will celebrate and save this story by producing a tribute
album to inspire a new generation of New Zealanders, and prove that
anything is possible if you put your mind to doing what you
Seven decades ago a young, shy, Ngāti Kahungunu woman from the
East Coast reluctantly agreed to record a song that would go down
in history as one of Aotearoa's most seminal recordings, and
securing her the title of NZ's first pop star.
The song was 'Blue Smoke'. The woman was Pixie Williams.
'Blue Smoke' was the first song to be recorded, manufactured and
distributed in New Zealand: it is recognised as marking the birth of the NZ recording industry. The
record was the first to be produced by TANZA - a label that was
created to break the monopoly in New Zealand of the British-owned
recording giant HMV.
'Blue Smoke' sold more than 50,000 copies and
catapulted Pixie and the song's creator, Ruru Karaitiana, into the
national consciousness. It was just the first of thirteen songs Pixie recorded in the first two
years of New Zealand's fledgling recording industry before slipping
quietly from the limelight.
Join us and together we will create a new legacy born from the
music of Pixie Williams, 'The New Blue'.
The New Blue
We are so thankful to have an enviable team of talented
producers, vocalists and musicians who have fallen in love with the
project and are hellbent on reintroducing the world to the music of
Pixie Williams. Each song is performed by a different vocalist, who
gifts their unique talents to elevate Pixie's songs to a
'The New Blue' is more than a tribute album, it is a stunning
addition to our musical landscape in its own right.
Executive Producer, Mike Gibson, Munki Studios (Hollie Smith,
Recloose, Orchestra of Spheres) is overseeing the production of
'The New Blue' and is working with the inspiring talents of
our music producers Riki Gooch and Lisa Tomlins. Riki is the creative force behind
Eru Dangerspiel and was a seminal member of Trinity Roots. Lisa is
the voice behind many of Aotearoa's greatest music including Fat
Freddy's Drop, Little Bushman and Rhombus, to name a few.
The musicians on the album include Riki Gooch, James Illingworth, Jacqui Nyman, Mark Sommerville, and Lucien Johnson with Stroma Filmworks Orchestra providing
beautiful orchestral support under the guiding hands of
world-renowned conductor Hamish McKeich.
A documentary directed by Danny Mulholland and produced by Julian Arahanga (AWA Films) featuring the story
of 'Blue Smoke' and of Pixie's life has been following the
recording sessions. The documentary is set to be screened on Māori
Television later in the year.
Why 'The New Blue'?
In 2010, in a tribute to her mother's legacy and to save her
recordings from obscurity, Pixie's daughter, Amelia Costello,
worked alongside the talents of Tim Fraser of Creature Design to
manage the production of re-mastered versions of her mother's
songs. Together with Mike Gibson of Munki Studios, who
pioneered his own restoration and remastering techniques to
accomplish the task, the resulting album, 'For
the Record - The Pixie Williams Collection 1949 - 1951',
generated renewed interest in Pixie's music and her story.
In 2011, Amplifier identity Stephen O'Hoy wrote, "The discovery
and restoration of Pixie Williams' recordings is an important event
in the history of New Zealand music. It will make available to the
public fantastic works that would have otherwise been lost
It is fitting that in this, the 70th year since 'Blue Smoke' was
released, Amelia is spearheading this new project in recognition of
Pixie's contribution to our musical heritage.
These new works will allow the taonga that are the songs, and
the living history of the music, to appeal to a new and diverse
audience. But we need your help to make this happen!
You can help us make history!
We have been fortunate to have received $25,000 from Creative NZ
to support our recording, and Massey University has given us free
use of their state-of-the-art recording studio at the College of
the Creative Arts in Wellington. This support has been invaluable,
but we need another successful funding campaign to help get us over
We need to raise another $35,000 to finish recording the artists
and to cover production costs to give the album the treatment that
it deserves. Resene Paints will kindly match each donation dollar
for dollar, up to $5,000 which is a great start for our
Every dollar helps! Whether you can give $5, $10 or $100 -
please donate today. Remember all New Zealand residents can claim
33% back on your donation. You can read more about donating through
Once you've donated, become part of 'The New Blue' crew and help
us spread the word. Tell your Mum. Tell your mates. Tell your
colleagues. Share a link to this page or our own website
The funds raised from this Boosted campaign
* Complete paying our producers, vocalists, musicians and
technicans for the recording phase of our project, including
recording with Stroma Filmworks Orchestra, Taikura (Ngāti Kahungunu
kapa haka), Al Fraser (Taonga Pūoro) and the five remaining songs
which are yet to be recorded.
* Cover all the producer, technician and associated studio costs
for the sound mixing.
* Pay for the final Mastering to then have the songs ready for
manufacturing and online distribution.
It's not often you get a chance to become part of a
story that would otherwise be lost forever.
'The New Blue' team would be honored if you would join
us to ensure Pixie's songs, and this incredible New Zealand story,
lives on to inspire a new generation of artists and yet-to-be
Introducing our amazing team: Mark Sommerville
21 HOURS AGO
Mark is incredibly gifted musical collaborator and we are very proud to have him in The New Blue team.
You can read more about why he is involved in the project here.
Introducing our amazing team: Riki Gooch
1 DAY AGO
Riki is living legend in the music industry. It's incredible that he chose to work with us on The New Blue project as a producer and percussionist.
You can read more about why he is involved here.
Introducing our amazing team: Lisa Tomlins
1 DAY AGO
Lisa is a true wāhine toa of the music scene. She has worked with the best in the business, and we are so proud to be working with her on The New Blue as a producer and vocalist.
You can read about why she chose to work on the project here.