Rachel Dawick Profile

Rosa Shiels
21 Jan 2020

Rachel Dawick is a singer-songwriter who came into prominence through her CD/book/performance project The Boundary Riders: Musical Tales of New Zealand Pioneering Women, a finalist in the 2015 Tui Awards as New Zealand folk album of the year.

A keen folk historian, Rachel travelled the country twice, once cycling from Cape Reinga to Bluff, to find stories about immigrant women in the 1800s. She picked out six women with colourful lives – a fraudster, missionary wife, magician, goldminer, washerwoman and prostitute – then fleshed out their characters, set their stories into song, and created a theatrical framework with a narration and musical links “to give the sense of a journey”.

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Rachel Dawick, aged two, onboard a ship to England.
Rachel Dawick, c. 2019: "The key is to have a story to tell and a desire for people to hear that story, because it feels important."
Rachel Dawick: she took up guitar after being put off piano lessons by a "horrible" teacher
Poster for Rachel Dawick's The Boundary Riders, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2015
'Let Me See Heaven', Ohura, April 2013
Rachel Dawick: her performances "transport audiences back into the post-colonial era through these characters’ hardships and experiences"
Cover image for Rachel Dawick's album The Boundary Riders: Musical Tales of New Zealand Pioneer Women (2014)
Rachel Dawick, c. 2017, in a visualisation of Victorian-era London
Rachel Dawick's 'Washer Woman Blues', from The Boundary Riders, 2014
'Shady Grove', with Jon Sanders, Katikati, 2013
'Follow Me Down', Rachel Dawick, 2010
Cover for Rachel Dawick's theatrical album 'A Penny Plain & Two Pence Coloured', c. 2017.
'The Last Dance', Christchurch Folk Club, 2012
'Biddy of the Buller', with Jon Sanders, 2013
Souvenir programme for The Boundary Riders, by Rachel Dawick, 2014