Blue Smoke is often described as New Zealand's first pop song. Certainly it was the first song written, recorded and produced in New Zealand. Ruru Karaitiana wrote the song in 1940 while he was serving serving with the 28th Māori Battalion. The story goes that he was sunbathing on the deck of the Aquitania when the smoke of a passing ship was pointed out to him.
Pixie Williams was the young Ngāti Pahauwera (Ngāti Kahungunu) woman who sung on Blue Smoke. She was born in Mohaka in northern Hawkes Bay and spent her early years with her grandparents. At 15 she moved to Napier to work at the Masonic Hotel. While at the hotel she met the famous Australian opera singer Gladys Moncrieff who encouraged her to get singing lessons "to do it right".