Brenda Liddiard

The Protest Singer

Brenda first became involved with writing and singing protest songs when she moved to Northern NSW in 1978, and became embroiled in the Terania Creek direct action protest to defend the last remnant of virgin rainforest in the state.  Involvement in other campaigns ensued over the next decade, including the Franklin River Dam blockade and the Sydney Peace Squadron’s efforts to prevent nuclear ships visiting Sydney harbour.


Her songs became (and continue to be) anthems for the environmental and anti-nuclear movements in Australia, and have been included in a number of documentary film soundtracks, including the award-winning Earth First.  In 1988 her song For the River, written about the Franklin campaign, won a United Nations Environment Programme song competition, and she took  part in the Asia/Pacific Environmental Song Festival in Bangkok, Thailand.


While not so much involved in direct action since moving to New Zealand, Brenda has continued to write many protest and social commentary songs, and her solo performances will sometimes also include songs from people like Pete Seeger and Holly Near, whose work has been some of her major inspiration over the years.  She wrote Save the Coromandel, which continues to be used by the people seeking to protect the Coromandel Peninsula from gold mining.  She has also written songs about climate change, gun crime, the plight of boat refugees, the dark side of the garment trade, homelessness in Auckland and many others.


Brenda is well known on the New Zealand folk/acoustic music scene, both as a solo performer and in a duo with her husband, Mark Laurent.  Her solo album, Box of Memories, was a finalist in the NZ Music Awards Best Folk Album in 2013.


Her album, Songs of Protest & Survival, is available for download on Bandcamp.



Anti-Whaling Protest, Sydney 1985

Terania Creek, rainforest protest, 1979

Sydney Peace Squadron Anti-Nuclear Ships Protest, Sydney 1985