Also called "Now Is The Hour When We Must Say Goodbye", writing in Musicology Australia
, Volume 30, 2008, Alan Thomas, formerly of the School of Music at Victoria University, said there is an underlying similarity between this song and "God Defend New Zealand
" both of which he says "reflect the country's isolation, the sadness of farewells as travellers leave, and New Zealand's vulnerability in being isolated and alone".
Written in English and Māori, it is often believed to be a traditional Māori song, although it appears to have been co-written by Clement Scott, Maewa Kaihau and Dorothy Stewart. Scott (1841–1904) was an Englishmen, travel writer and theatre critic for the Daily Telegraph
newspaper. Dorothy Stewart was a New Zealand poetess, and Emira Maewa Kaihau born Louisa Flavell was part-Māori, a musician, singer and poet.