For certain intuitive experience in these islands we seem as yet to have no adequate musical language.  If I am to remember, it must be with words.

As a child, Douglas Lilburn caught eels in the river, floated on log canoes, jumped off riverbanks into the waterhole, built tree huts and chased turkeys.  He gathered mushrooms at dawn and got spooked in the bush.  He enacted Tarzan and Deerfoot and daubed his face with glow-worms for war paint.  He was spellbound at the sight of a golden butterfly and ‘sensuously caught’ by the sound of his sister playing the piano. 

Every childhood has its share of special moments. Nonetheless, it is remarkable that the boy who grew up on Drysdale Station, an isolated pioneer farm in the upper Turakina Valley, should come to be called the father of New Zealand music. By intuition and introspection he recognised that the scenes of his boyhood were not only the foundation of his sensibility but the clue to his fulfilled identity.

These extracts from Lilburn's Memories of Early Years are read by Peter Vere-Jones for Radio New Zealand.