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Maaori Music Month opens up nominations for National Waiata Maori Music Awards

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

It is time to celebrate our Māori artists over the coming month to help lift the wairua of indigenous music artists all over the world.

Saturday, August 1 marked the start of the fifth annual Te Marama Pūoro Waiata Māori - Māori MusicMonth, designed to nurture, grow and inspire up and coming performers and established artists alike.

There are a range of events planned for the month which starts with officially opening nominations for the 13th annual National Waiata Māori Music Awards.

The awards executive director Ellison Huata said everyone around the world is feeling the impact of the international pandemic and Māori music will be a good way to lift the spirits of people no matter where they are in the world.

"I think our Māori artists in particular have been doing it tough this year and it’s great that we’re going to be able to have these two events to celebrate our singers, songwriters and performers.

"It’ll give people something positive to focus on over the next couple of months, a chance to reset and refocus, a reprieve from the challenges of the past three or four months."

Ellison said this year’s Te Marama Pūoro Waiata Māori - Māori Music Month will keep to its original kaupapa, putting a focus on celebrating emerging and established performers, growing their musical talents.

"One of the events we have planned is a singing competition where people can create their own compositions which they can submit to us, and the work can be judged by a panel of artists.

"We will bring the top 10 finalists to the Waiata Māori Music Awards to meet those working in the industry, at the Waiata Māori Music Conference which is on the 1st of October."

At the conference, established artists and music producers will be able to give the competition finalists some advice and guidance.

"We hope in the end, they’ll want to take a more serious look at a career in music, song writing or performance, so we can continue to grow the next generation of talented Māori artists."

There will be two categories for the singing competition, Rangatahi, for those under 25 years old, and Pakeke, for those over 25.

There will also be a Whanau TikTok Challenge for Māori Music Month.

"The challenge is for whanau to perform or dance to a waiata recorded by one of our many Māori artists."

Ellison said with TikTok’s popularity among young people around the world, it will be a good avenue to promote Māori music to an international audience.

"We have a chance to share our music world-wide through TikTok, show who our Māori performers are and how much talent we have in New Zealand.

"It’s also definitely a way to give thanks to all those that shared their musical talent during the lockdown period, they really uplifted people by sharing their gifts.

"The TikTok Whanau challenge winners get to come along and celebrate with Māori music industry at the 13th National Waiata Māori Music Awards too."

Awards nominations open for 2020

The National Waiata Māori Music Awards celebrates music released in the 12 months to June 2020 and nominations are now open.

Artists can submit their work via the Waiata Maori Music website and nominations will close on Monday, August 24, 5pm.

A panel of independent judges will review the nominations and the finalists will be announced on September 17th.

The winners will be announced at a gala event which this year returns to the ToiToi, Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre, in Hastings, formerly the Hawke’s Bay Opera House, on Friday, October 2.

The Waiata Māori Music Awards was founded by Māori performing arts advocate Tama Huata and was launched in 2007.

It is now headed by Tama’s daughter, Ellison Huata but retains its original kaupapa, to provide an opportunity to honour the achievements and success of current and developing traditional and contemporary Māori artists.

Ellison said it was great to be able to take the awards event back to the venue where it first showed, from 2008 to 2014.

The venue had been closed to undertake extensive redevelopment over the past five years.

"We’re happy to be able to use a great venue like ToiToi. It’s vision is to be the most vibrant and significant arts, culture and events facility in New Zealand and we believe the National Waiata Māori Music Awards can help it achieve that goal."

The 2020 categories include:

Best Te Reo Māori Album; Best Hip Hop Album by a Māori Artist; Best RnB Album by a Māori Artist; Best Roots Reggae Album by a Māori Artist; Best Pop Album by a Māori Artist; Best Māori Male Solo Artist; Best Māori Female Solo Artist; Best Māori Group; Best Single by a Māori Artist; Best Music Video by a Māori Artist and Best Māori Songwriter.

The new categories:

Best Hip Hop Album by a Māori Artist and Best RnB Album by a Māori Artist (which replaces the Best Māori Urban RAP/Hip Hop/RnB Album category), as well as Best Māori Group.

Important dates:

August: Te Marama Pūoro Waiata Māori - Māori Music Month

August 1: Nominations open for National Waiata Māori Music Awards.

August 24: Nominations close.

September 17: Finalists announced.

October 1: Waiata Māori Music Awards Conference.

October 2: Winners announced at the National Waiata Māori Music Awards gala event.

Notes for artists:

Full Terms and Conditions for the 2020 event can be found on the Waiata Māori Music Awards website:

For any questions regarding the nominations process please contact Grace Leota: 

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