National Waiata Maori Music Awards This Friday

September 10th 2015
15 finalists, across 12 categories, to contest titles at this year's National Waiata Māori Music Awards, which will be held in Hawke's Bay in September 11.

International performer Toni Huata could add two more titles to her impressive career credentials when she appears as a finalist at this year's National Waiata Māori Music Awards.

The talented singer/producer has been named a finalist for the coveted Best Māori Female Solo Artist title. She is also a finalist for the Best Music Video by a Māori Artist, for Hopukia o Te Tao.

She won the Best Māori Pop Album Award, for her work on Hopukia, at the Waiata Māori Music Awards in 2013. The 10-track album was released in 2012 and was her first made in the dub and electronica genre, her first bilingual collection of songs and her first in collaboration with top New Zealand musicians Paddy Free and Gareth Farr.

In 2015, she released her fifth album, Tomokia, along with two more albums by Te Manu and The Wagner Brothers, which she produced.

Toni Huata is among 15 finalists, across 12 categories, to contest titles at this year's National Waiata Māori Music Awards, which will be held in Hawke's Bay in September 11.

It will be the 8th annual awards ceremony and for the second year it will be held at the Hastings Sports Centre.

Toni Huata is one of two finalists in the Best Maori Female Solo Artist category. Challenging her will be 18-year-old reggae-roots artist Majic Paora. The Kaipara woman has appeared as a guest artist at past National Waiata Māori Music Awards ceremonies.

For the past two years she has been working as an independent musician, working towards releasing her debut album, Oneness, and her debut video, Mi Deh Yah. She had toured New Zealand extensively and has performed alongside such big names as Damian and Julian Marley, Common Kings, Katchafire, House of Shem, Maisey Rika and Ria Hall.


Finalists in multiple categories

Six60 returns to the awards this year as a finalist in six categories: Best Māori Pop Album, Best Music Video by a Māori Artist and Best Song by a Māori artist. Six60's Matiu Walters and Marlon Williams are joint finalists for Best Māori Songwriter. Six60's songs, Special, and, So High, are finalists in the NZ OnAir Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist Award.

Making his debut as a finalist this year, artist Ranea Aperahama, will also contest multiple categories, including Best Traditional Māori Album; Best Māori Pop Album; Best Māori Urban Hip Hop/RAP/R&B Album; Best Māori Urban Roots Album and Best Māori Male Solo Artist.

Debut artists

Artists appearing as finalists for the first time include Whaia (Lois McIver) and The Mahician (Leyton Greening), whose album, Whaia, will contest the Best Traditional Māori Album. The duo is also a finalist in the Best Māori Songwriter Award category.

Kapa haka competitors Amomai Pihama, Selwyn Tepania, Hemi Peke, Atarangi Putamainu and Ani-Piki Tuari have pooled their talents to produce a contemporary pop and R&B album entirely in Te Reo Māori, called Manea. The album's song, He Po Nui Te Whai, is a finalist in the Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist in Te Reo Māori Award.

Young Wellington hip-hop performer Rei (Callum McDougall) released his self-produced album, CHIEF, this year and in his first appearance as a finalist will contest the Best Māori Male Solo Artist Award, along with former National Waiata Māori Music Award winner, Sid Diamond and Ranea Aperahama.

Hotly contested titles

The awards for the Best Song by a Māori Artist and the Best Music Video by a Māori Artist have attracted four finalists each, for this year's awards ceremony.

In the Best Video category, the finalists include Toni Huata, for her music video, Hopukia o Te Tao. The video was released for this year's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. The waiata is taken from Toni's 2012 album, Hopukia.

Moana and the Tribe's video, Whole World's Watching, was released in 2014 and is a finalist in the Best Video category. The song was inspired by a group of friends protesting against seabed mining. The waiata features on the album, Rima, released in 2014.

Six60's single, White Lines, from the band's second album, is also a finalist in the Best Video category. The video features clips recorded by fans all over New Zealand, as well as a few shots from around the world, edited and produced by Six60.

Wellington seven-piece sunshine reggae band Tomorrow People released the music video for its song, No Rush, earlier this year and it is a finalist in the Best Video category. The band teamed up with producer Vince Harder to create a pop-crossover hit, which still retains the band's reggae flavour.

In the Best Song category, there are also four finalists.

It includes Ranea Aperahama, who hails from Ratana Pa, and who earlier this year launched his debut album, Tihei Mauri Ora. The title track, of the same name, went to number 1 on the Te Reo Maori Top 20 Airplay Chart this year.

Whaia and the Machician's (Lois McIver and Leyton Greening) waiata, Whakapono, is a finalist in the Best Song category. The te reo Māori waiata carries the message: "Believe in your ancestors' strength to lead you through life". It is from their debut album, Whaia, a collection of 10 original eclectic, easy-listening waiata Māori.

Six60 earlier this year released its second album and the first track off the new offering, Special, shot to number 1 on the New Zealand Music charts, and a finalist in the Best Song category.

Tomorrow People's waiata, No Rush, is contesting the Best Song category. The song is from the band's second album, due for release later this year.

Talented musicians contesting titles

Finalists for the Best Māori Songwriter include Ranea Aperahama, Matiu Walters/Marlon Williams (Six60) and Whaia and the Maician.

The Best Māori Urban Roots Album will see work by Ranea Aperahama, Moana and the Tribe as well as Tasty Brown contest the title.

The Best Māori Urban Hip Hop/RAP/R&B Album title will be contested by artists Rei, Ranea Aperahama and Tasty Brown.

Ranea Aperahama and Tasty Brown will also contest the Best Māori Pop Album, along with Six60.

Three songs are finalists for the NZOnAir Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist Award, including Special and So High by Six60, and Step On Up, by Benny Tipene.

Aotearoa, a waiata led by Stan Walker featuring singers Ria Hall, Troy Kingi and Maisey Rika, released for this year's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, is one of three songs contesting the Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist in Te Reo Māori Award.

He Po Nui Te Whai, by Manea, and Tirama, by Te Aumihi Hapeta and Reiwhati Heremia are the two other waiata finalists in this category.

How the awards are judged
Individual judges will now assess the work of the artists online independently, rather than as a group or collective panel. The results will be submitted via the internet to the awards administrator and collated.

Nominated awards
The Nominated Awards recognise those who have made a significant contribution to the industry. These categories are not judged but are awarded to highlight the work of past and present performers, singers and songwriters working in the Maori music sector.

This year's Nominated Award recipients:

Keeper of Traditions Award, Mauriora Kingi.
Maori Music Industry Award, The Quin Tikis.
Lifetime Contribution to Maori Music Award, Tama Huata.


About the awards

THE MANDATE of the Waiata Māori Music Awards is to produce and maintain a music competition that is open to all Māori music industry professionals i.e. all composers and artists.

OUR AIM is to have all entries secretly judged in a non-biased way by active members of the Māori music industry and audited by a chartered accountant.

OUR VISION is to produce a gala awards ceremony that will focus on the diversity and excellence of Māori Music in Aotearoa (New Zealand) featuring performances by current, or past finalists, and winners.

THE MISSION of the Waiata Māori Music Awards is to acknowledge and honour the keepers, teachers, promoters, creators and performers of Māori music; to continue to develop and promote the diversity of all Māori music; to showcase and celebrate the excellence of Māori music; to recognise the unique vision of Māori composers and musicians; and to enrich this rich cultural voice.


This year's Maori Music Awards ceremony will be held at the Hastings Sports Centre on Friday, September 11, 2015.

Tickets are available from the Takitimu Performing Arts School, 706 Albert Street, Hastings or phone 0800 TAPERE.
Prices: $100 Dinner/Awards or $30 General Admission. Tickets are on sale now!

 

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