Topic: NZ Music

Maioha award celebrates this year's top contemporary Māori music artists

By Taroi Black
  • Auckland

The best of the best songwriters and musicians in the country have gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the APRA Silver Scroll Awards 2015 at the Vector Arena.

Eleven years ago, the Māori award category known as Te Tohu Maioha award was introduced to acknowledge Māori songwriters. 

The nominations were very different, with Vince Harder and his song Aotearoa. Nominated for the popularity of the song, simple lyrics and he's an established artist. 

Ki Uta Rangai by Ranea Aperahama was another nominee.  He writes his own songs and both he and his twin brother are well known Māori songwriters and artists.

The third finalist is Moana Maniapoto with her new song.  Moana was also instrumental in establishing the Tohu Maioha award itself in 2004. 

Moana Maniapoto is nominated for her song Upokohue.

She says, “No it doesn't feel strange, it feels awesome.”

The Maioha Award was collectively introduced by well-known musicians to acknowledge our Māori songwriters at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards.

Maniapoto says, “Ruia, Hinewehi, myself, Tarese Mcgregor… we all asked APRA whether we could have an award that could celebrate Te Reo Māori but also innovative song writing. “

Another contender for the award is seven-time Waiata Māori Music Award nominee, Ranea Aperahama, for his song Ki Uta/Rāngai.

He says, “To me, no matter who wins tonight, the main thing is that the language is being heard. If we go back 40 years ago, an award like this never existed.”

While it's a milestone, for performers it's a challenge.

It's going to be a big night ahead.  The winners will be announced tonight.