2003 NZ Music Awards
She's a hard road finding the perfect awards night formula boy, so, as Dave Dobbyn would have it, "sing hallelujah... " - for after 37 years of trying RIANZ pretty much got it right this time. At last a NZ Music Awards ceremony that felt like a genuine celebration of New Zealand music.
No commercial breaks to satisfy live TV, no game of two venues, no pre-dinner drunks (well, there was the phantom aisle urinator), or overlooked desserts. Even the members of the organising committee were surprised at how swimmingly it all went, and probably even more surprised to find their in-boxes filled with note of praise and congratulations. Hallelujah indeed!
Sure there was some kerfuffle over the original announcements about dropped categories; that the awards would be split into technical and non-technical nights; that the significantly larger number of judges wouldn't get a copy of all of the music they were supposed to be judging; perhaps most importantly, that the magic word 'cocktails*' - was explained in the invitation's small print as beer (ahem-Export Gold actually) and wine; and some confusion about whether it was or wasn't going to be televised - but all in all the 2003 Tuis were pretty damn alright.
With a number of the less glamorous and more technical awards having been dished out already, the main awards night took place at Auckland's Aotea Centre on April 30th. The PR pitch of it being a grand precursor to NZ Music Month was embraced by news crews and the event gained a good deal of television time both before and after.
Confirming the events' nu-skool intentions Blindspott opened the show, with the Deceptikonz alongside for their second song. Hosts Oliver Driver and Lucy Lawless did a fine double drunk act, often close to the limit but only in real danger when the mobile presentaion podium itself swung off towards the stage edge. Driver proved himself to be a sponsor's dream date while Lawless would have been for many in the audience.
Even more stars of stage, screen, field and ring were invoked to present the awards, most doing a fine job. Special mention must go to Jon Bridges for his very special dream and King Kapisi for footing it admirably in the bicep department with David Tua. He also took the opportunity to push for a separate hip hop category next year, pointing out astutely that "... hip hop and R'nB are two totally different things".
Nesian Mystik may not agree. Having thanked their school music teacher they admitted that they too didn't know what 'urban' music is, despite having a Tui that says they do. "We do hip hop and R'nB," they explained.
Winning multiple awards proved a little embarrassing for the Datsuns who were in the country for only 13 hours and hold little stock in the local industry, having been ignored until they took off overseas. Accepting one of their four Tuis, guitarist Phil Datsun thanked "... those few people who came to see us in New Zealand, who understood what it was about before people overseas".
In the most poignant part of the show Dylan Taite's twin sons accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of their music journalist and enthusiast dad who died earlier in the year. The accompanying video brought howls of laughter and a standing ovation.
Afterwards it was back to the drinks and nibbles and the exclamations of surprise - it turns out that the Tuis can be fun after all.
And the winners are:
Album of the Year
Single of the Year
Best Solo Artist
Best Male Vocalist
Best Female Vocalist
Breakthrough Artist of the Year
Best Urban Album
Best Roots Album
Best Dance Album
Best Jazz Album
Best Classical Album
Best Mana Reo Album
Best Mana Maori Album
Best Pacific Island Album
Highest Selling Album
Highest Selling Single