Pacific Music Awards Launched in Style
Author: Zoe Hooper (photography by Jason Hailes)
New Zealand’s first ever Pacific Music Awards were held as part of the Pasifika Festival launch in Auckland mid-March. Samoan-born hip hop artist Tha Feelstyle (Kas Futialo) cleaned up with three of the six awards.
Tha Feelstyle won every category he was nominated in at the 2005 Pacific Music Awards - cleaning out the other finalists including 2004’s multiple-award winner Scribe and current TV/radio favourite Dei Hamo.
Tha Feelstyle’s unique combination of Samoan and English lyrics clearly impressed the judging panel, and he took away the Niu FM Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist and the NZ Music Industry Commission Best Pacific Male Artist for his 2004 album, ‘Break It To Pieces’. Together with Ian Seumanu, he was also the winner of the APRA Best Pacific Song category for the single Su’amalie.
Perennial Pacific music stalwarts Ardijah were rewarded with the Niu FM Best Pacific Music Album for ‘Journey’, claiming the only Tui award of the night. Adeaze brothers Viiz and Nainz Tupa’I won the Radio 531PI Best Pacific Group award. Sara-Jane Auva’a was judged the C4 Best Pacific Female Artist for her self-titled album. The late Phil Fuemana’s contribution to Pacific music was also recognised with a Lifetime Achievement award.
RIANZ have been slowly moving the various genre-based awards (folk, country etc.) away from their annual NZ Music Awards evening, and last year a group was formed to wrap the one Pacific music Tui award into a wider Polynesian event. Despite some significant staging hiccups on the night the committee are rightly pleased with the inaugural ceremony, arrangements for which really only started in earnest late last year.
Organisers got great value with more than 10,000 people getting to see the inaugural awards ceremony as it was part of the Auckland City Council-funded free outdoor Pasifika Festival launch concert. The awards generated a deserved amount of news coverage here and overseas.