Rediscovered song, which has a ‘cheerful energy’, was likely written by a teenage sailor or shore whaler in New Zealand in the 1830s

Even from “the back of nowhere, far from any city” – not to mention the sea – John Archer caught wind of the sea shanty revival before anyone else.

From his home in landlocked Ōhakune, Archer had noticed a sharp uptick in visitors to the New Zealand Folk Song website he set up in 1998. One 19th-century seafaring epic was of particular interest: Soon May The Wellerman Come.

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