Born: 1931, In­ver­car­gill, New Zea­land.



A for­mer ed­it­or with the New Zea­land Hymn­book Trust, Mur­ray’s work has ap­peared in over 140 col­lect­ions world­wide, and been trans­lat­ed in­to sev­er­al lan­guag­es (Chi­nese, Swed­ish, Ger­man, Span­ish, French, Nor­we­gian, Es­ton­i­an, Por­tu­guese, Ko­rean, and Braille print).

Her ma­ster’s de­gree (Hons.) from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ota­go was in La­tin and French. She has been a teach­er of lan­guag­es, a re­search­er, and pro­duc­er of radio hymn pro­grams, as well as a church or­gan­ist and pi­an­ist.

Murray grew up in the Me­tho­dist tra­di­tion and mar­ried in­to the Pres­by­ter­ian one, though the ecu­men­i­cal move­ment has been a dom­in­ant in­flu­ence in her work. The themes of her hymns range from peace, jus­tice, eco-theo­lo­gy and hu­man rights to the voice of wo­men, the Church year and the sa­cra­ments.

She has writ­ten med­i­ta­tions and more than 20 Christ­mas ca­rols, of­ten with Sou­thern Hem­i­sphere land­scapes or ref­er­enc­es. Her words have been used for cho­ral an­thems and ap­pear as po­ems in a num­ber of an­thol­o­gies in the Unit­ed King­dom and else­where.

Many con­tem­po­ra­ry com­pos­ers have set her texts to mu­sic, no­ta­bly from New Zea­land: Col­in Gib­son, Jil­li­an Bray, Doug­las Mews, Jen­ny Mc­Leo­d, Bar­ry Brin­son, Ian Ren­der, and Da­vid Dell. Among those from North Am­er­ica: Carl­ton Young, Jane Mar­shall, Jim Strath­dee, Hal Hop­son, Aus­tin Love­lace, Dan Da­mon, Ron Klus­mei­er, Joy Pat­ter­son, Am­an­da Hus­berg, Rus­ty Ed­wards, Lo­ri True, Ri­chard Proulx, as well as I-to Loh (Tai­wan), Lim Swee Hong (Sing­a­pore), Per Har­ling (Swe­den), and Ber­na­dette Far­rell (Unit­ed King­dom).

Murray has also worked with Dr. I-To Loh, mu­sic­al eth­no­lo­gist from Tai­wan, in pa­ra­phras­ing As­ian hymns in­to English, and con­trib­ut­ed both texts and pa­ra­phras­es to Sound the Bam­boo (CCA Hym­nal, 1990, 2000) and the Pres­by­ter­ian Church of Taiwan Hym­nal (2009).

Her five ma­jor col­lect­ions have been is­sued by Hope Pub­lish­ing Com­pa­ny: In Ev­ery Cor­ner Sing (1992), Ev­ery Day in Your Spi­rit (1996), Faith Makes the Song (2003), Touch the Earth Light­ly (2008), and A Place at the Ta­ble (2013). She was al­so a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the New Zea­land ec­u­men­i­cal hym­nals Al­le­lu­ia, Ao­tea­roa, Ca­rol Our Christ­mas, Faith For­ev­er Sing­ing and Hope Is Our Song. She is rep­resent­ed in the Aus­tral­ian To­geth­er in Song, and has 23 items in the Church of Scot­land Hym­na­ry 4. In 2004, she col­lab­o­rat­ed with Jane Mars­hall and Carl­ton Young to pro­duce the col­lect­ion Sing for Peace.

Murray was the Er­ik Rout­ley Fel­low 1996 (Pres­by­te­ri­an Church of the USA). In 2001, she was award­ed the Queen’s Birth­day hon­or of Mem­ber of the New Zea­land Or­der of Mer­it (MNZM) for ser­vic­es to the com­mu­ni­ty through hymn writ­ing, the first ci­ti­zen to be so hon­or­ed. In 2005, she re­ceived the Ma­ha­ra Gal­lery Trust (New Zea­land) Award for Li­te­ra­ture. One of her texts was chos­en as a theme song for the World Coun­cil of Church­es 9th As­sem­bly in Bra­zil, 2006. Al­so that year, the Roy­al School of Church Mu­sic award­ed her the sta­tus of Hon­or­a­ry Fel­low, FRSCM, for her work as a hymn writ­er, re­cog­nized in­ter­na­tion­al­ly.

In 2009, she wrote a theme hymn for the Chris­tian Con­fer­ence of Asia, and that year was award­ed an hon­or­ary Doc­tor­ate of Li­ter­a­ture from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ota­go, New Zea­land, and be­came a Fel­low of the Hymn So­cie­ty in the USA and Ca­na­da in 2009 (FHS).

She is mar­ried to the Very Rev. John Stew­art Mur­ray, a for­mer Mod­er­a­tor of the Pres­by­ter­ian Church of Ao­tea­roa/New Zea­land, and found­ing Chair­per­son of the New Zea­land Hymn­book Trust. They have three sons and six grand­child­ren, and live on the coast near Well­ing­ton, New Zea­land.