Winners Announced for 2020 National Waiata Māori Music Awards

October 12th 2020
A blend of live and recorded performances provided a unique event to celebrate singers, songwriters, producers and performers working in the Māori music industry.

The 13th annual National Waiata Māori Music Awards event was held online on Friday night, October 9, hosted by Luke Bird and Crystal Edwards, from the Toi Toi Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre.


The continuing threat of Covid-19 prompted organisers to move the awards event online to ensure people were safe, but still able to celebrate Māori music.


National Waiata Māori Music Awards Executive Director Ellison Huata said she was pleased with the way the event was able to adapt to offer a virtual awards offering.


“It’s important we continue to recognise and celebrate all of our Māori artists working in the industry.


“It’s been a very difficult year, with many of our artists unable to perform at live gigs. Hopefully this will provide them with something positive to focus on with the possibility of live performances returning to New Zealand heading into summer.”


The awards event aims to develop and promote the diversity of all Māori music to showcase and celebrate its excellence, to recognise the unique vision of Māori composers and musicians.


“It’s always great to celebrate the achievements for those working in the music industry but also we do our best to encourage new and emerging artists, to ensure we have a continuing stream of talent coming through.


“We hope to see more of that new talent at Waiata Māori Music Awards events in the coming years.”


Ria Hall and Troy Kingi won the prestigious Best Māori Female Solo Artist Award and Best Māori Male Solo Artist Award titles respectively.


Ria Hall dedicated her award to “all of the young wāhine Māori who are coming through the [music] ranks - this tōhu is for you.”


“I am really grateful that this tōhu is coming to Tauranga Moana [her home], although I want to recognise the caliber of all of the musicianship among my peers, it is so high and I am really proud of us all.


“It really showcases our diversity and the various forms of Māori music.”


Troy Kingi also won the Best Music Video of the Year by a Māori Artist Award for his work on Ethiopia, and Best Roots Reggae Album by a Māori Artist, for Holy Colony Burning Acres.


L.A.B which was founded by the Kora brothers Brad and Stu, secured four awards for 2020.


The group won Best Single by a Māori Artist Award, for their single, In The Air, and Best Pop Album by a Māori Artist, for their work on L.A.B. III. It was their third album in three years and it combines rock, roots, soul, funk & dub.


The band was also awarded the Best Māori Group and Best Māori Songwriter titles.


Lead vocalist Joel Shadbolt, after winning the Best Pop Album Award, said it was an incredible experience to be a finalist among so many other talented artists.


“I want to give a massive shout out to our families. Nothing happens without sacrifice, and as a lot of you know, following your dreams and what you want to do in a creative life, requires a lot of sacrifice.


“When you get recognition for what you do, it makes your family proud and the people in your life proud, thanks so much Waiata Māori Music Awards.”


He said song writing for L.A.B was a collaborative process but he credited Brad Kora for his leadership and his ability as “an incredible songwriter”.


The Best Te Reo Māori Album Award was won by Wellington band, Grove Roots, which was formed by Noel Woods


The Best Hip Hop Album by a Māori Artist Award was won by Rei, for his work on Hoea, which he said was his first te reo Māori project. Rei also launched a new single recently, called Borderline.


La CoCo is a Samoan-Māori music artist from South Auckland and she won Best RnB Album by a Māori Artist in 2020 for her work on Grateful.


Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist Award was won by SIX60 for their song, The Greatest.


A unique waiata combining the voices of Rob Ruha, Maisey Rika, Horomona Horo, Majic Paora, Troy Kingi, Ria Hall, Seth Haapu and Bella Kalolo, won this year’s Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist in Te Reo Award.


The song, Ka Mānu was composed by Rob Ruha. The musicians worked together to record the song to support the Ihumātao land protectors.


The Emerging Artist Award Under 25 Award was won by SIIAM (Sam Love) and the Emerging Artist Award Over 25 Award was won by Teia Kennedy.


SIIAM thanked the National Waiata Māori Music Awards and said the tohu was confirmation of the musical journey he was on.


He also thanked his music tutors at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay as well as his family and friends.


“I will leave you with this: Music can change the world because music can change people.”


SIIAM was also one of the performers for the show, singing his waiata, Now U Know.


There were also performances by Troy Kingi, Amber Holly, Valkyrie, Seth Haapu. A performance by Waiata Māori Music Awards Ambassador, Taisha Tari featuring Kahurangi Māori Dance Theatre, opened the virtual awards show at 7pm on Friday.


In the Iconic Awards category, Upper Hutt Posse founder Darryl Leigh Tomson (DLT) was the recipient of the Lifetime Contribution To Māori Music Award, recognising his work as a singer, songwriter, producer and mentor for many young Polynesian hip hop artists, as well as being an advocate for all things Māori.


The late Te Taite Kupa was the recipient of the Iconic Māori Music Composer Award, recognising decades of work performing and writing songs internationally which continue to inspire new generations of Māori artists.


The award was accepted on his behalf by his whanau.


The 2021 National Waiata Māori Music Awards event will be held on September 10.

 

Full details of this year’s award winners:


Te Tohu O Manawa Rahi Ki Te Aa Pūoru Māori

Lifetime Contribution To Māori Music Award

Sponsored by Ngāti Kahungunu Rūnanga Arts & Culture Board

Presented by Narelle Huata

Winner: Darryl Leigh Tomson (DLT)


Te Tohu Kōpae Reo Māori Autaia

Best Te Reo Māori Album

Sponsored by Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori

Presented by Tuehu Harris

Winner: Grove Roots


Te Tohu Kaiwhakairo I Te Kupu o Nehe

Iconic Māori Music Composer Award

Sponsored by Hastings District Council

Presented by Mayor Sandra Hazelhurst

Winner: Te Taite Kupa


Te Tohu Kopāe Māori Autaia - Pop

Best Pop Album by a Māori Artist

Sponsored by Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporation

Presented by Ngahiwi Tomoana

Winner: L.A.B


Te Tohu Kōpae Māori Autaia – RnB

Best RnB Album by a Māori Artist

Sponsored by NZ Music Commission

Presented by Mike Young

Winner: La CoCo


Te Tohu Waiata Reo Irirangi o Te Tau

Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist Award

Sponsored by Toi Toi Arts & Events Center

Presented by Megan Peacock-Coyle 

Winner: The Greatest – SIX60


Te Tohu Waiata Reo Māori Reo Irirangi o Te Tau

Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist in Te Reo Award

Sponsored  by NZ Music Commission

Presented by Mike Young 

Winner: Ka Mānu – composed by Rob Ruha. Performed by: Rob Ruha, Maisey Rika, Horomona Horo, Majic Paora, Troy Kingi, Ria Hall, Seth Haapu & Bella Kalolo.


Te Tohu Kōpae Irirangi Kaipūoru Māori o Te Tau

Best Music Video of the Year by a Māori Artist Award

Sponsored by Toi Toi Arts & Events Centre

Presented by Megan Peacock-Coyle

Winner: Troy Kingi


Te Tohu Kaipūoru Rangatahi Hou Rangatahi

Emerging Artist Award Under 25

Sponsored by Aotearoa’s Most Talented

Presented by Hinera O’Rourke

Winner: Teia Kennedy


Te Tohu Kaipūoru Pakeke Hou

Emerging Artist Award Over 25

Sponsored by Aotearoa’s Most Talented

Presented by Hinera O’Rourke

Winner: SIIAM (Sam Love)


Te Tohu Kōpae Māaori Autaia – Hip Hop

Best Hip Hop Album by a Māori Artist

Sponsored by Indelible

Presented by Dan Browne

Winner: Rei


Te Tohu Kōpae Māori Autaia - Reggae

Best Roots Reggae Album by a Māori Artist

Sponsored by Te Puni Kokiri

Presented by Farley Keenan 

Winner: Troy Kingi


Te Tohu Waiata Autaia

Best Single by a Māori Artist Award

Sponsored by Kahurangi NZ Māori Dance Trust

Presented by Henry Heke

Winner: L.A.B


Te Tohu Rōpū Māori Autaia

Best Māori Group

Presented by Kahurangi NZ Māori Dance Trust

Presented by Henry Heke

Winner: L.A.B


Te Tohu o Te Kaitito Waiata Māori Autaia

Best Māori Songwriter 

Presented by Te Wānanga Whare Tapere o Takitimu

Presented by JB Heperi-Smith

Winner: L.A.B


Te Tohu Manu Tioriori Wāhine Autaia

Best Māori Female Solo Artist Award

Presented by Te Mangai Paho

Winner: Ria Hall


Te Tohu Manu Tioriori Tāne Autaia

Best Māori Male Solo Artist Award

Presented by Te Mangai Paho

Winner: Troy Kingi

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