New Zealand was
originally populated by Maoris, who arrived there from various Pacific islands
between 900 and 1300 AD., the last wave came from Tahiti. After Captain
Cook had claimed possession of New Zealand for Gt Britain in 1769, there
were sporadic European and Australian missionary and whaling settlements in the
Bay of Islands, but no official British presence. New Zealand
is a very young country from a musical point of view, as it only formally
became a British colony in 1840
However, the post 1840 population contained numerous enthusiastic
music-lovers, with choral societies, brass bands, an established music-teaching
body, and many sheet music shops.
Hill was born in Melbourne, Australia, and studied in Leipzig, Germany, but
was resident in New Zealand for many years. He took an interest in Maori music,
and wrote an opera Tapu, based on Maori culture.