The City of Sails Chorus is one of New Zealand's top male choruses singing mainly barbershop music. It is based in Auckland and has been active since the inception of NZABS (New Zealand Association Of Barbershop Singers, renamed in 2015 as BHNZ - Barbershop Harmony NZ) in 1979. BHNZ is an affiliate of the governing Barbershop Harmony Society.
The chorus was originally called the MOTAT chorus, named after the Museum of Transport and Technology located in Western Springs of Auckland City.
The City of Sails Chorus's musical director is Richard Harker. Over the years, the chorus has had the directorial skills of Wayne Senior, Gary Taylor, Phil Skaggs, Jill Rodgers, Ben Trollip and Shrie Jawalkar. Jill Rodgers took them to the 2005 International convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, and continues to coach the group. The chorus was the first from New Zealand ever to compete at the Men's international barbershop competitions.
The chorus hosted the NZABS/BHNZ national convention and contests in 1994, 1999 (held in Rotorua), 2004, and 2012.
An Invitation from Ron Richardson, then CEO of the Museum Of Transport And Technology and Barbershop enthusiast, to an Hawaiian Quartet from the Aloha Chapter of the then SPEBSQSA Inc. now Barbershop Harmony Society, called "The Merry Mac's" resulted in an invitation for local men to SING.
The quartet gave a concert, along with local established quartet "The Bridge City Barbers", in the Museum's Aviation Theatre. At the end of the concert the women and kids from the audience left but the men remained. The quartet then taught the guys a few traditional barbershop songs in four part harmony. The women and children returned later to be entertained by their menfolk.
At the conclusion, there was an announcement of the formation of the MOTAT Barbershop Chorus, ANZAC Day 1979. Of the 40 or so men there, about 35 turned up on the initial rehearsal night. Wayne Senior, TVNZ Music Personality, vocal and band arranger was appointed as the initial Musical Director.