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The Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival – NZ

The Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival was held over 3 days. between the 6th and 8th of January 1973. It was the first major music festival held in New Zealand and attracted over 18,000 people. The venue, a farm about 3km north of the town centre, was a a natural amphitheatre and a perfect outdoor rock concert venue.

Organised by Australian expat Robert Raymond and New Zealand promoter Barry Coburn, its 54-act bill included many of New Zealand’s top acts including The La De Das and Max Merrit & The Meteors. Co-headliners were UK bands Black Sabbath and Fairport Convention.

Jands provided the sound system and this was one of the first times the company sent equipment outside Australia.


Corben Simpson (NZ)
Black Sabbath (UK)
Fairport Convention (UK)
Blerta (NZ)
Dragon (NZ)
La De Das
Mammal (NZ)
Max Merritt & The Meteors
Split Ends (NZ)
Bulldogs Allstar Goodtime Band (NZ)
Powerhouse (NZ)
Butler (NZ)
Ticket (NZ)
The headline act was Black Sabbath.

The festival was also notable as the very first gig for Dragon (sans Marc Hunter), one of the first major concert appearances by Split Enz.


“Todd (Hunter) … gathered some friends and fellow performers for an appearance at the Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival. They wrote original songs for their set list, and someone pulled the name “Dragon” out of an I Ching book. Their performance at the Ngaruawahia Music Festival led to a better gig, a few weeks performing at the Occidental Hotel in Auckland.”

“Corben performed at the 1973 Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival. He was the opening act and grabbed the headlines with a naked romp.”

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