Pixie Williams Profile

Chris Bourke
23 May 2013

The first star of New Zealand’s post-war recording industry was a reluctant participant. When Pixie Williams was approached in 1948 by songwriter Ruru Karaitiana to record ‘Blue Smoke’, she turned him down – twice.

Williams was born in 1928 in Mohaka, northern Hawke’s Bay and brought up by her grandparents. At 17 she moved to Wellington, and lived in the YWCA hostel on Oriental Bay where she became known for singing in the shower and at sessions around the hostel piano. When Karaitiana was looking for a singer, his girlfriend Joan Chittleburgh recommended Williams – a friend at the hostel.

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Blue Smoke
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The cutting of the first release of Blue Smoke
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National Film Unit Weekly Review 407: Blue Smoke pressing
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Pixie Williams
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Original sheet music to Blue Smoke
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Pixie Williams (far right) with, from left, musicians Doug Brewer, Bill Hoffmeister, Jim Carter, Keith Willet and Russ Laurence. The women from the audience are unknown. Wellington, late 1940s.
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