This year New Zealand’s second Māori Music Awards have produced some promising and high profile winners.
According to Shona Cobham of New Zealand.com, Maisey Rika, the female vocalist who performed in New Zealand’s Giant Rugby Ball in Tokyo recently, won the 'Best Female Solo Artist' award for her album Tohu.
She was also a finalist in the 'Best Māori Songwriter' category which was won by the well known New Zealand hip-hop / R&B group, 'Nesian Mystik'.
The Waiata Māori Music Awards acknowledge all Māori music industry professionals including composers and artists. The ceremony held in the Hawkes Bay Opera House in Hastings, featured performances by winners, and current and past finalists.
Organisers say the mission is to acknowledge and honour the keepers, teachers, promoters, creators and performers of Māori music.
They also want to continue to develop and promote the diversity of all Māori music, recognise the unique vision of Māori composers and musicians and enrich their cultural voice.
The New Zealand hip-hop / R&B group Nesian Mystik which brings together Māori, Tongan, Samoan and Cook Island ancestry, featured strongly at the awards.
The group won four major awards with their album Elevator Musiq – including ‘Best Māori Urban Artist or Artists’, ‘Best Māori Pop Artist or Artists’, ‘Best Māori Songwriter’, and ‘Best Māori Song’.
Maisey was also nominated for 'Best Female vocalist' in 1998, at just 15 years of age.
Her spine-tingling vocals and fusion of English and Māori lyrics has brought international recognition and – with guitarist J J – Maisey has created an original sound, sometimes described as a mix of folk, acoustic and soul.
As well as performing at the Rugby Ball in Tokyo, 2009 has been a busy year for Maisey – with recordings, tours, making music videos and being finalist for three music awards – the APRA ‘Majoha’ award, and the two Māori Music awards.
'Best Māori Male Solo Artist' 2009 was won by Hamilton-born Leon Wharekura with It's A Love Thing.
'Radio Airplay Record of the Year by a Māori Artist' was Always on my mind from the album ‘Past Present Future’ by Tiki Taane.
Radio Airplay Record of the Year by a Māori Artist in Te Reo was '12 : 24' by artist Ruia Aperahama, with the song Rere Reta Rere Reta.
The ‘Keeper of Traditions’ award went to the late Kohine Te Whakarua Ponika; 'Lifetime Contribution to Māori Music' was awarded to Morvin Simon; 'Music Industry Award (Contemporary)' was won by ‘HERBS’, and the 'Music Industry Award (Traditional)' was awarded to the Patea Māori Club.
'Iconic Māori Music Composer’s Award – Historical' was won by the late Sir Apirana Turupa Ngata.
Music is a vital part of the Māori culture, and kapa haka or performing arts is an intrinsic element in the New Zealand cultural experience.