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The Lilburn Lecture 2017: The Twin Passions of Charles Royal

The Lilburn Lecture 2017: Twin passions for Royal

Indigenous creativity takes centre stage at the National Library next week.

Acclaimed musician and composer Charles Royal (Marutūahu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngā Puhi) will give the annual Lilburn Lecture for 2017 at the National Library of New Zealand on 2 November.

In Searching for Voice, Searching for Reo, the journey of a bi-cultural composer, Royal will discuss his career as a composer, giving expression to his twin passions of music composition and mātauranga Māori creativity – creativity which makes use of traditional Māori knowledge.

A composer, researcher, teacher and musician, Royal is a passionate advocate for indigenous creativity. Using musical examples, he will explore the purpose of composing, using reo (voice) and kōrero (voiced narrative) as an approach to music and whether mātauranga Māori and Western composition can combine to create a new and satisfying whole.

Royal is also a highly respected writer and has received several prestigious fellowships. He is Director of Ngā Manu Atarau (Communities, Repatriation, Sector Development) at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand.

“The Lilburn Lectures are a way for the Alexander Turnbull Library to contribute to discussions about New Zealand music, encourage debate and present new ideas,’’ says Dr Michael Brown, Curator of Music at Alexander Turnbull Library.

“We also hope that the lectures raise awareness of wide range of musical heritage preserved in the Archive of New Zealand Music and other Library collections,” says Michael. “Charles has himself donated material in the past.”

The Lilburn Lecture takes place on the birthday of composer Douglas Lilburn, one of the Library’s major benefactors. The event is free.


Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal is a composer, researcher, teacher, musician and passionate advocate for indigenous creativity. He is highly respected writer and has received several prestigious fellowships. He is Director of Ngā Manu Atarau (Communities, Repatriation, Sector Development) at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. Through composing and performing music, researching and teaching iwi histories and traditions and indigenous knowledge, Royal pursues indigenous creativity and innovation. His iwi are Marutūahu, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngā Puhi.

The Lilburn Trust: The late composer Douglas Lilburn helped establish the Archive of New Zealand Music, which is part of the Library’s collections, in 1974. He donated his own collection of scores, papers and recordings, and served as an honorary curator. Lilburn also established the Lilburn Trust in 1984, which is administered by Alexander Turnbull Library. The Lilburn Trust supports many New Zealand music projects including the annual Lilburn Lecture. The Lecture has been held since 2013: previous speakers have been Jenny McLeod, Chris Bourke, William Dart and Philip Norman.

Event details:

Lilburn Lecture 2017 Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal: Searching for Voice, Searching for Reo. The journey of a bicultural composer

When: Thursday 2 November 6-7pm

Where: Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library of New Zealand, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Wellington

RSVP: This is a free event but space is limited, please book by email:


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