Waiata Maori Music Awards Finalists
The number of finalists this year is 18, an increase on the 11 recorded in 2010. Judging now begins on marking the work of the finalists across the 10 categories of the music awards.
Individual judges will assess the work of the artists online independently, rather than as a group or collective panel. The results will be submitted via the Internet to the awards' administrator and collated.
Judges have been nominated from the music industry - both Maori and mainstream musicians, composers, managers and music organisations.
Executive director Tama Huata says this particular type of judging system has been adopted to ensure the Waiata Maori Music Awards maintains a high level of independency when it comes to professional standards.
The winner of each category will be announced on the night of the awards ceremony on Thursday 8 September, at the Hawke's Bay Opera House in Hastings.
The finalists are now confirming whether they will appear at the awards ceremony, or nominate a member of their family or management team to represent them at the event.
Among the finalists this year is performer Tiki Taane, a finalist in four categories - Best Urban Hip Hop/RAP/RnB Album, Best Maori Male Solo, Best Song by a Maori Artist and Best Songwriter.
Taane is no stranger to the awards. He won the Radio Record Airplay Of The Year By A Maori Artist Award for his song Always On My Mind, as well as the Best Maori Male Solo Artist Award, both in 2008.
Anna Coddington, a finalist from the 2008 Waiata Maori Music Awards, returns as a finalist this year, for Best Maori Pop Album, Best Maori Female Solo and Best Maori Songwriter categories.
UK-based performer Jayson Norris, Ngati Kahu, is a first-time finalist, in the Best Maori Pop Album and the Best Maori Male Solo categories.
Another off-shore act, The Kumpnee, is a finalist in the Best Maori Urban RAP/Hip Hop/RnB category. The urban funk band is based in Sydney and this is its first time contesting the awards.
"We are very happy with the response from recording artists to the new Reggae genre and the entries reflect this," Mr Huata says.
A range of veteran artists is also in the running for awards this year. Maori singer Ngahiwi Apanui from the East Coast is a finalist in the Best Maori Traditional Album in Te Reo with his fourth studio album Matariki. He is also a finalist in the Best Maori Songwriter category.
Another well-known name, entertainer Dennis Marsh, is a finalist in the Best Maori Male Solo category. To date he has released 23 albums with four platinum and 10 gold to his name.
Selwyn Rawiri will also contest the Best Maori Male Solo award. Born in Te Awamutu, his career spans five decades, initially with The Maori Volcanics. He still performs today while studying law at Waikato University.
Sheree Waitoa, from the East Coast, is a first-time finalist in three categories, Best Maori Traditional Album, Best Maori Female Solo and Best Song by a Maori Artist. Her latest album Kokopu ranges from reggae dub to electronic funk fused with traditional taonga poi.
Another new finalist in this year's awards is WAI, in the Best Maori Traditional Album in Te Reo and Best Maori Female Solo. WAI has created a sound which is described as Maori electronica roots from traditional Maori songs.
Miss Black, Tuhoe, Tuwharetoa, Te Whanau-a-Apanui, is a finalist in the Best Maori Female Solo category and her debut album Black Light is also a finalist in the Best Maori Urban RAP/Hip Hop/RnB Album category. She is a fluent speaker of Maori and a bilingual singer/song writer who has been composing for more than a decade.
Unidub is an electronic band formed in Albany, Auckland, which is a first-time finalist in the Best Maori Pop Album category while The Nok, a trio of "balladeers" from Wellington, also contest the pop album award, as well as Best Song by a Maori Artist and Best Maori Songwriter.
Tatou Tataou e is a collective of kaiwaiata from around New Zealand which aim to produce original Te Reo Maori songs. The group is a finalist for Best Maori Urban RAP/Hip Hop/RnB Album.
The nominated award section was announced earlier this year. The nominated award is for a person who is or has been dedicated to teaching Māori culture in music. There are four nominated sections each year, recognising the contribution people have made to waiata Maori.
This year's nominated award winners are: Iconic Maori Composers Award, the late Sir Kingi Ihaka; Maori Music Industry Awards, Frankie Stevens and Ardijah; Lifetime Contribution to Maori Music Award, Mahora Peters, Maori Volcanics; and the Keeper of Traditions Award, Tihi Puanaki.