Taumarunui’s Song

New Zealand is not famous for its railway songs and has produced little to compare with American folk classics such as ‘I’ve been working on the railroad’, ‘This train (is bound for glory)’ or ‘The Wabash cannonball’.

But few New Zealand folk songs are as iconic as Peter Cape’s ‘Taumarunui (on the main trunk line)’, a tale of unrequited love between ‘an ordinary joker’ and a ‘sheila’ who works behind the counter at the town’s famous railway refreshment room.

Here’s the song in its full tuneful glory performed by female Kiwi comedy group When the Cat’s Been Spayed: