National Waiata Maori Music Awards Winners
The flourishing solo career of former Nesian Mistik lead singer Te Awanui Reeder received another stamp of approval as he took home three titles at last night's National Waiata Maori Music Awards ceremony in Hawke's Bay.
Reeder stepped up to the stage at the Hawke's Bay Opera House in Hastings to collect three awards including Best Maori Male Solo Artist, a title he won ahead of finalists Leon Wharekura, Seth Haapu and Te Huaki Puanaki.
He also won the Best Song By A Maori Artist (If Things Were Different) which was a category that also included finalists Ahorangi/Sid Diamond (Pounamu), Tomorrow People featuring Kolohe Kai (Feel Alright), Leon Wharekura/Ora Kihi (Waikato E) and Australian-based band Paua (Coming Home).
Reeder's love for writing was also rewarded when he won the Best Maori Songwriter award for 2012, which was presented to him by one of New Zealand's foremost songwriters, Don McGlashan.
Wellington singer Kirsten Te Rito performed for the audience but wasn't expecting to be on the stage again when her name was called as the winner of the Best Female Maori Solo Artist award. It was a title she claimed ahead Toni Huata, also based in the capital, Ahorangi Winitana, Auckland, Ria Hall, Tauranga and Boston-based Jess Harlen.
One of two new categories this year, Best Video of the Year by a Maori Artist, was won by Ria Hall (artist) and Jessica Sanderson (producer) for their work on the video for the song, Best Of Me.
The other new category was for the Emerging Artist and there were two awards, the first went to urban reggae band Tune of I and the second to solo artist Simone Holland, who both performed last night.
Holland was the winner of the inaugural Waiata Workshop and Showcase Talent Quest in Te Kuiti, in May this year, earning a place to perform at the awards last night.
This year was the fifth birthday of the National Waiata Maori Music Awards and a special opening number was choreographed depicting the story of the journey of people from the Pacific to Aotearoa, featuring Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre.
The Hawke's Bay Opera House was at capacity with more than 900 guests arriving in the theatre to see this year's awards ceremony.
Ahorangi Winitana and Sid Diamond performed their song Pounamu, while Waiata Maori Awards Ambassador Taisha Tari and Hawke's Bay opera singer William Winitana also performed a duet.
This year's ceremony also feature two new co-hosts, Brent Mio and Lanita Ririnui-Ryan, from Maori Television's Kanikani Mai. The awards ceremony was also under the care of new television director Ngatapa Black and viewers can see last night's show on Maori Television later this year.