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GUEST,Guest Origins: Blood Red Roses - the (NZ) sealing song (10) Origins Blood Red Roses - the (NZ) sealing song 11 Oct 21

I am trying to find the background to the New Zealand song “Blood Red Roses” for a workshop on NZ songs. It has the distinctive “Come down you blood red roses” refrain, and talks of a sealing expedition not unlike Davy Lowston. I am familiar with the deep water shanty and do not require any information on that.

The earliest recording I have of the "NZ version" is of the Watersons in 1964 (released on their 2004 “Mighty River Of Song” where they called themselves the Folksons). Berl Ives recorded a version in Down to the Sea in Ships (1956) with many of the sealing verses. Apparently there are no cover notes explaining the background to his version.

This version is set in 1803 - which is before NZ even became part of the British Empire - and probably has an English background.

Does anyone have any other further information on the song?

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