In the southern hemisphere’s summer of 1995/96 and spring of ’97, musician and sound engineer Clive Williamson visited New Zealand to record the country’s beautiful nature sounds. The result was AOTEAROA – Nature Sounds of New Zealand, an album which captured the essence of many of NZ’s amazing natural environments. From forests and bush to Pacific shores, via waterfalls, caves, streams and extraordinary geothermal activity, the album featured relaxing and energising ‘postcards in sound’ from all over the country. Clive’s recording odyssey took him from the Bay of Islands in the north to Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula in the south to hear New Zealand’s wonderful natural atmospheres and the calls of entrancing birds like the Tūī, Bellbird and Saddleback.
The New Zealand Tourism Board’s London office were so impressed by the quality of the recordings and the way AOTEAROA evoked the natural atmospheres of NZ that they sponsored its release in the UK. They saw the album as a perfect way to promote New Zealand as a unique holiday destination that ‘refreshes, replenishes and inspires.’
The original version of the album was released in the U.K. in May 1997, with six tracks and a playing time of 52 minutes. A special New Zealand edition soon followed, which was manufactured in NZ and distributed throughout the country by Auckland-based ODE Records and Marbeck’s record stores.
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There is a newer, updated and extended version of this album available as a download, or to buy in New Zealand shops… because since the original recording trips, Clive has been back to NZ several times to discover remarkable new soundscapes on both the North and South Islands. The final result from all his visits is the album: New Zealand Naturally, which captures the essence of even more of NZ’s beautiful natural environments. This 21st Anniversary edition adds five new tracks, increasing the playing time to over 78 minutes. Find out more…
Each track on the album is presented as a sound journey through a different region of New Zealand. The bird-rich off-shore island sanctuaries of Tiritiri Matangi and Kapiti are both featured, as is Rotorua and the Pacific coastline of the South Island with its colonies of Little Blue and Yellow Eyed penguins. Another ‘journey’ was recorded in Waitomo and King Country in the centre of North Island, where Clive was caught in a thunderstorm in Mapara Wildlife Reserve. The spectacular rolling thunder is one of the highlights of the album, as is the atmospheric sound of water dripping in Waitomo’s famous glowworm caves afterwards.
The album has been used by the BBC, National radio in NZ, and by the Royal New Zealand Ballet for their acclaimed touring production of ‘The Piano’.
With its superb recording quality and evocative peaceful atmospheres, anyone can now soothe away the stresses of life and be transported to this wonderful country by listening to Aotearoa – Nature Sounds of New Zealand!
During his travels with his digital recorder, Clive was particularly impressed by the dedicated ecological work he encountered all over NZ. “Many of the places I visited were doing an amazing job conserving and restoring New Zealand’s fascinating endemic wildlife,” he says, “like Kapiti Island; the Yellow Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve near Dunedin; and the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. But the place that seemed to need the most help was Tiritiri Matangi Island, so we are donating a portion of the royalties from this album to them as a contribution to their marvellous work with endangered species of birds such as the kōkako, saddleback, stitchbird and takahē!”