Pixie Williams

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Pixie Williams
Background information
Birth name Pikiteora Maude Emily Gertrude Edith Williams
Born (1928-07-12)12 July 1928
Mohaka, New Zealand
Died 2 August 2013(2013-08-02) (aged 85)
Upper Hutt, New Zealand

Pikiteora Maude Emily Gertrude Edith "Pixie" Williams (married name Costello, 12 July 1928 – 2 August 2013) was a New Zealand singer best known for the song "Blue Smoke", recorded in 1949.

Early life and family

Williams was born in 1928 at Mohaka in the Hawke's Bay region.[1] Of Māori descent, she was affiliated to the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi.[2]

"Blue Smoke"

"Blue Smoke" was the first single to be locally recorded and manufactured in New Zealand, backed by the song "Señorita", and was also the first release on the local TANZA label. The A-side was written by Ruru Karaitiana whilst he was on board a troop ship during World War II, and was recorded in September and October 1948 for release in February the following year by the Ruru Karaitiana Quintette (sic) with Williams on vocals.[3] It was number one on the New Zealand charts for six weeks and sold around 50,000 copies.

A self-taught singer, Williams was recommended to Karaitiana by his fiancée Joan, who had sung with her whilst staying at a girls' hostel in Wellington. She was to go on to sing on several more recordings during 1949 and 1950: "Bellbird Serenade" (backed by Jimmy Carter's Hawaiians), "Maori Rhythm" (backed by Alan Shand's Orchestra), and "Saddle Hill", as part of Ruru Karaitiana's Quavertones. The Quavertones were credited with "Let's Talk it Over" and "Windy City".[3]

Later life

In 2011, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand recognised Williams with a triple platinum award for "Blue Smoke" and single platinum award for the song "Let's Talk it Over".[1][4] The same year, a digitally remastered compilation of Williams' songs, For the Record: The Pixie Williams Collection, was released.[5]

Williams died at a rest home and hospital in Upper Hutt on 2 August 2013. She had been suffering from dementia, diabetes and Parkinson's disease.[1][4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Blue smoke singer Pixie Williams dies". TVNZ. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Electoral district of Southern Maori: main roll of persons entitled to vote for Members of Parliament of New Zealand. 1957. p. 14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Staff, Bryan; Ashley, Sheran (2002). For the record: a history of the recording industry in New Zealand. Auckland: David Bateman. pp. 40–43. ISBN 1-86953-508-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Singer of NZ classic dies". Radio NZ. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Van Beynen, Jennifer (16 July 2011). "Hit song finds new voice after 62 years". Dominion Post. Retrieved 1 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links