5 Jun 2017

Annie Crummer, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit

From Queen's Birthday, 10:50 am on 5 June 2017

Annie Crummer says her heritage has played a part in her success and she wants to share her Queen's Birthday honour with all Pasifika people.

Annie Crummer

]Annie Crummer Photo: Screengrab / YouTube / www.anniecmusic.com

Crummer, whose singing career goes back to the 1980s, has been made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music.

In the list announced today, former Prime Minister John Key received the highest honour, the Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Honours also went to television producer Julie Christie, adventurer Graeme Dingle and former All Black Michael Jones.

Crummer has been involved with groups such as Netherworld Dancing Toys and Herbs, released two solo albums and has been a driving force in increasing the representation of Pasifika people in the country's music charts.

She says the honour took her by surprise.

"You go out to the letter box and you scratch your head and say, 'it's probably another bill' and then you open the letter and it says that someone thinks you're worthy of something like this."

Crummer, of Cook Island descent, believed her heritage had played a part in her success.

"I know that something was just passed on, from my father and from my grandmother - who used to sing hard out in the church in the Cook Islands - to me.

"And I've managed to make a career out of that, and it's been wonderful.

Annie Crummer with her father Will

Annie Crummer with her father Will Photo: RNZ

"I want to share this honour with my people, that's how I feel, because of the content that is in my music and that's where the DNA comes from. When you thank me, you are thanking all my ancestors."

It was reassuring to see Pasifika musicians getting acknowledged more now than when she started her singing career.

"It is great to know that it [Pasifika music] is getting a lot more of recognition now, and there's a lot more confidence in our people to come forward, and not have that shy cuzzy thing going on, which I did back then."

"When you're doing your music, you get hypnotised and assisted by your ancestors. That's how I feel, anyway.

"And there's only a few of us Polynesians in the world, so I hope those people [reading this] know how special you are, that we are a minority, and our music is full of warmth, and you can't help but smile when you hear that beat."