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Waiata Maori Music Awards Attract Top Talent

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Some of the top names in New Zealand entertainment are on their way to Hawke’s Bay to be part of the National Waiata Māori Music Awards.

The Hastings Sports Centre will be transformed into a premier entertainment venue to host the ninth annual awards event on Friday, September 9.

The event was established by Hastings man, Tama Huata, to acknowledge and honour the keepers, teachers, promoters, creators and performers of Māori music.

It aims to develop and promote the diversity of all Māori music, to showcase and celebrate the excellence of Māori music and to recognize the unique vision of Māori composers and musicians.

Special guest artists at this year’s awards event include three performers who worked as the ambassadors for the inaugural Te Marama Pūoru Waiata Māori – Māori Music Month, held in New Zealand and Australia in August.

It includes Rob Ruha, Maisey Rika and Taisha Tari. Other guest performers making their way to the Bay include Paua (based in Australia), reggae trio NRG Rising, Rei (winner of Urban/Hip Hop Award 2015) and singer Kirsten Te Rito (2014 award winner, 2016 finalist).

New to the awards show as a guest performer will be Howie Morrison Jnr, well known for his hunting show on Māori Television but this year is working hard on a solo music career.

He is also a finalist in two award categories for the first time, including the Best Song by a Māori Artist Award for his work on, If I Could Only Change My Life.

There are four other songs also being considered for this award. It includes Paremata Mene, by Rob Ruha; Let Them Play, by Paua; Maimoata, by Pukana and Ana Hi by Nga Taonga Mai Tawhiti/Kirsten Te Rito.

Morrison is also one of four finalists contesting the much sought after title, Best Māori Male Solo Artist. The other finalists include Rob Ruha, Maaka Fiso and Ray Bishop.

Another top award, Best Māori Female Solo Award, has attracted three finalists this year including Kirsten Te Rito, Huia Hamon and Amba Holly.

Kirsten Te Rito won the Radio Airplay song of the year by a Maori Artist in Te Reo Maori (Oranga) in 2014. Huia Hamon is an award winning producer and Māori bilingual performer. He sound features electronic beats, organic percussion with live guitars and deep harmonies. Amba Holly this year this year launched her musical career writing original music with a strong RnB-soul presence.

There are a total of 20 finalists contesting awards this year.

The awards event will also include the Māori Music Expo which will involve workshops on Taonga Puoro (traditional Māori music instruments, vocal technique, composition and turntablism, held at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House Plaza.

The expo is free and open to the public from 9am to 2pm September 9. The awards ceremony will follow from 6pm.

Doors to the venue open at 5.30pm for those with VIP tickets ($100). This includes the dinner and the awards event (ten tickets to a table).

Doors open at 7pm for those with general admission tickets, $30. For ticket information phone 0800Tapere (06) 873 0041.

This year’s finalists:
Best Traditional Māori Album (Tohu – Kōpae Mōteatea Hira): Rob Ruha (Pūmau); Kirsten Te Rito (Āiotanga); Taki Toru (Aku Piki Kōtuku).

Best Māori Pop Album (Tohu – Kaipūoru Māori Autaia): Te Aorangi Smith (LIVE); Kirsten Te Rito (Āiotanga); Taki Toru (Aki Piki Kōtuku).

Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist in Te Reo Māori Award (Tohu – Kōpae-Irirangi Kaipūoru Reo Māori o te Tau): Ponga Ra by Rob Ruha; Tihei Mauri Ora by Ranea; Kakano by Awa.

NZOnAir Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist Award (Tohu – Kōpae- Irirangi Kaipūoru Māori o te Tau): I’m Ready by Sons of Zion; White Lines by Siz60; Come With me by Piter R featuring Jasmine.

Best Music Video by a Māori Artist (Tohu – Ataata Māori Hira o te Tau): Rob Ruha ft Tiki Taane, for Kariri; Ranea, for Tihei Mauri Ora; REI for Chiefs Speech; Pukana, for Maimoatia.

Best Māori Urban Hip Hop/RAP/RnB Album (Tohu – Kaipūoru Māori-noho-taone Autaia): Kirsten Te Rito (Āiotanga); Ray Bishop (Music For Life).

Best Māori Urban Roots Album (Tohu – Kōpaeroa Autaia – Roots/Reggae): Israel Starr (Through the Ages & Forever); Tomorrow People (Bass & Bassinettes).

Best Māori Male Solo (Tohu – Manu Tīoriori Tāne Autaia): Rob Ruha, Howie Morrison Jnr, Maaka Fiso, Ray Bishop.

Best Māori Female Solo (Tohu – Manu Tīoriori Wahine Autaia): Kirsten Te Rito; Huia Hamon; Amba Holly.

Best Song by a Māori artist (Tohu – Waiata Māori Hira): Rob Ruha (Paremata Mene); Paua (Let Them Play); Pukana (Maimoata); Howie Morrison Jnr (If I Could Change My Life); Nga Taonga Mai Tawhiti/Kirsten Te Rito (Ana Hi).

Best Māori Songwriter (Tohu – Kaitito Waiata-Māori Autaia): Rob Ruha; Kirsten Te Rito (co-written by James Illingworth, Joe Te Rito); Pukana.

Waiata Māori Music Awards & Music Expo:

Expo: Friday, September 9, at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House Plaza in Hastings, from 9am to 2pm.

Awards event: Friday, September 9, at the Hastings Sports Arena, from 6pm.

More info can be found at the Waiata Maori Music Awards

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