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Richard Taylor designs Tui for 2021 Aotearoa Music Award

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The winners at this year’s Aotearoa Music Awards will be presented with a unique TÅ«Ä«, designed and created by Wētā Workshop CEO and creative director, Richard Taylor and the team at Wētā Workshop. 

A long-time contributor to the creative industries in New Zealand, Richard and his team have provided creative service work for local and international films, TV series and location based experiences. Best known for their work on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Avatar, Gallipoli - the Scale of our War and most recently their Unleashed experience in Sky City in Auckland.

"It’s an absolute thrill to be creating the 2021 TÅ«Ä« for this year’s Aotearoa Music Awards. Music has always played a major role in my life - I can still remember listening to Radio B with Karen Hay on a radio my dad made when I was a young kid living in rural Auckland," says Taylor. 

"And of course - when I moved to Wellington after finishing high school, I discovered Radio Active and have been an avid fan ever since. 

"A huge highlight of my work over the past 30+ years has been the opportunity to collaborate with Wellington-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Tane Upjohn - Beatson. We have now worked on Gallipoli - The scale of our War, Bug Lab and most recently our Unleashed experience in Auckland.

"Using music in such a powerful way in support of the narrative and emotion of our exhibitions and so significantly enhance the experience for our guests has been immensely uplifting for me."

Taylor’s favourite New Zealand bands have included Screaming Meemees, Toy Love, Newmatics, Instigators, Headless Chickens, Blam Blam Blam - or anything from Don McGlashan - Rhombus, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Ghidrah.

Recorded Music New Zealand Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa Sarah Owen is honoured to have Taylor involved with this year’s award ceremony. 

"At the heart of the Aotearoa Music Awards is the celebration of creativity from our artists, and we think this year’s TÅ«Ä« is a great reflection of that creative energy and passion," says Owen. 

Design inspired by nature 

Joining Dick Frizzell (2018) and Boh Runga (2019), Taylor’s take on the iconic award is inspired by the beauty of the TÅ«Ä« bird, as well as Aotearoa’s native flora and fauna. 

"The twisting forms of the piece are suggestive of the way TÅ«Ä« perch on a branch while turning their bodies to feed on kowhai flowers," says Taylor. "The interweaving helix in the body forms are representative of the weaving together of musical inspiration to make a song or composition, and at the foot of this spiral is a G-Clef - acknowledging one of the foundations of the music celebrated by the award." 

The whole piece is underlit by a soft pale green light, illuminating the sculpture and capturing the iridescence of the TÅ«Ä« feathers in the light.

The TÅ«Ä« will be presented to this year’s winners at the Aotearoa Music Awards on Friday 17th December 2021.

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