Anglican clergyman Frederick A. Bennett first formed the group in the early 1900s, and in 1930 the Columbia Graphophone Company in Sydney decided to send a special recording outfit to New Zealand in order to record the group. Comprising 27 members at the time of recording, the male-female choir were mostly from Ngāti Whakaue and sang a variety of material, from poi songs, stick games and love ballads, to Christian hymns and songs by composer Alfred Hill.
When the Rotorua Maori Choir discs were released in 1930, they were heavily promoted by New Zealand retailers. Among the innovative window displays created by the retailers were those by Moore’s in Auckland, who recruited “charming Maori wahines” to sit in the window and make kete. Howie’s, in Newton, Auckland, exhibited a Māori pā in their shop window.