The brightest in the land

Author: Alasdair BaxterDate: 30th October 2023

The video was recorded on my phone on a trip to Tiritiri Matangi over Christmas  – I stayed the night and guided both days.

I tried to get snippets of film so that it looked like I was walking along to Hobbs Beach and then up the Wattle Track to the lighthouse (which you will see flashing at night). Then I filmed a walk back to the wharf the next day and, of course, the ferry leaving the wharf.  I was lucky to see kōkako up close on the first day. I deliberately avoided shots of people in the film (although you might be able to spot one or two if you look very carefully).

I wrote the song’s chords and melody first and then decided the story of the lighthouse would be a good subject for the song. Anne Rimmer’s Tiritiri Matangi book helped me with a few of the lyrics. I came up with a rough arrangement and then we all added our many instruments to the recording. Emily Allen did a great job arranging her string parts and playing and adapting the traditional Irish reel which is featured in the song. Our band hoop plays regularly in Auckland and runs the Ministry of Folk in Mt Eden (look us up on Facebook :-))

“The Brightest in the Land” is a song by the Auckland band “hoop” about the lighthouse on Tiritiri Matangi island.
Hoop run The Ministry of Folk Facebook in Auckland which is an alternative folk event on halfway down Dominion Road.
Spotify link to song –…
Song Credits:
Video, recording, song writing, production, arrangement, guitars, mandolin, banjo, vocals: Al Baxter
Bass: Glenn Coldham
Flute: Nick Edgar
Percussion: Rusty Knox
Violin and Viola parts played, composed and arranged by Emily Allen
Irish Reel: Trad reel. Al originally incorporated the reel into the song and it was adapted and played by Emily Allen.
Guest accordionist: John Malloy
Song mixed by Morgan Allen
Mastered by Luke Finlay at