31 Aug 2015

Waiata Māori Music Award finalists named

7:01 am on 31 August 2015

After persuading as many Māori musicians as possible to enter the Waiata Māori Music Awards the organisers say they are pleased with the high calibre of the finalists.

Ranea Aperahama is a finalist in five categories at the awards, while Six60 is in six categories.

Ranea Aperahama is a finalist in five categories at the awards, while Six60 is finalist in six categories. Photo: 123RF

The awards that were founded by the late Tama Huata are held every year in Hawke's Bay to honour past and present Māori music makers.

Tama Huata

Tama Huata who founded the awards died earlier this year. Photo: folksong.org.nz

Because Mr Huata died earlier this year, the administrator of the event, Lisa Paenga, of Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Kahungnunu descent, said a lot of people were put off and thought that it would not go ahead.

But she said after encouraging artists to put their names forward this year's finalists list was very impressive.

Ms Paenga said singer-songwriter Ranea Aperahama for example was contesting multiple categories.

"For this year, yes, I'm very pleased that we've got the finest that we have as we've been trying for quite a while to get our artists to enter," she said.

"Especially Ranea coming back we haven't heard from him for a while, so he's done very well this year in the categories."

Ranea Aperahama is up for the 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.

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 On Air Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist Award.

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.

The event takes place at the Hastings Sports Centre on Friday, 11 September.

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