Before she was ever Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern was New Zealand’s resident political DJ. She’s made sporadic DJ appearances since high school including the now-somewhat-famous set at Auckland’s Laneway Festival in 2014, which included Beyoncé, Andre 3000 and The Smashing Pumpkins. With her musical credentials in mind, and music month rolling around, we asked Ardern to provide the playlist of local tracks she’s most enthused about.
Ardern’s playlist is certainly eclectic. It’s a politician’s job to appeal across every strata of society, and there are no clear or divisive themes to the Ardern playlist, which ranges from synth-pop outfit Broods to drum n bass mainstays Shapeshifter, to beloved-by-boomer contributions like Dave Dobbyn.
"I know there’s that old cliche that people use to describe their taste in music …”eclectic” But when it comes to me and New Zealand music, it’s really true," Ardern says.
The playlist features nods to the high-flying young women who make up NZ’s most prominent musical exports—including tracks from Lorde, Aldous Harding, Broods, Chelsea Jade and The Venus Project.
There’s a fair dose of Kiwi nostalgia tracks showing face on the Prime-Ministerial playlist: Dave Dobbyn, Shihad and the Mutton Birds, various classics that Ardern says have ended up soundtracking her memories. “It’s all about memories,” she says. “Seeing Shihad play at the Wailing Bongo when I was a uni student, Don McGlashan capturing such an important moment in our history [with 'Anchor Me', his ode to the Rainbow Warrior]. Living in London and hearing Dave Dobbyn open a war memorial for us on Hyde Park corner, or dancing into the night to Shapeshifter. They’re all my home-grown memories. These are just a few of my favourites, and some of these artists I feel lucky enough to know.”
This article is part of a special series brought to you by SNIFFERS and VICE to celebrate NZ Music Month.