Commemorating Mervyn McLean (1930-2022)

Te Tumu Herenga | Libraries and Learning Services would like to commemorate Mervyn McLean for the enduring legacy that he has left behind, in light of the news of his passing earlier this month.

Mervyn focused on recording Māori waiata throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and was fastidious in ensuring that the recordings would provide future generations with access to waiata as a teaching resource.

Book cover Tō Tātau Waka credit Auckland University Press

Tō Tātau Waka: In search of Māori Music 1958-1979. Book cover credit Auckland University Press

Founding Archivist

The internationally significant repository, the Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound, was established by the University of Auckland in 1970, with Mervyn, a leading ethnomusicologist, appointed as Archivist.1

Recordings from his fieldwork formed the beginnings of the archive and he tirelessly advocated for the archive during his 23-year tenure as Director of the Department of Anthropology. His māhi continues to support teaching, learning and research at Waipapa Taumata Rau and beyond – his recordings are frequently requested by members of the public and community groups.

Discover more

Richard Moyle, a close friend and colleague, has written a detailed obituary.

Information regarding Mervyn’s fieldwork recordings can be viewed at the Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound website. Of particular note are the popular collections:

  • Traditional Maori Songs 1958-1979
  • Traditional Music of Aitutaki and Mangaia Cook Islands, Sept-Nov 1967

Specific recordings cared for by the Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound, can be accessed via online Request.

Cultural Collections


1 See About the Archive