Organisers of the 2018 Waiata Māori Music Awards were dealing from a well-stacked deck for the 11th annual awards ceremony which took place in Hastings on September 14.
Released in late 2017, Rob Ruha’s ‘Survivance’ album earned the acclaimed haka soul musician four trophies from seven nominations. Ruha’s wins included Best Māori Male Solo Artist | Manu Tīoriori Tāne Autaia, Best Māori Traditional Album | Kōpae Mōteatea Hira, Best Māori Urban Artist | Kaipūoro Māori-Noho-Taone Autaia, and Best Song by a Māori Artist | Waiata Māori for Kalega.
‘Rules Of Engagement’, the historically-based album by Ria Hall, saw her named Best Māori Female Solo Artist | Manu Tīoriori Wahine Autaia. Talking with Briar Lawry for NZ Musician’s Dec/Jan 2018 issue, Hall described her album debut as “…drawing on themes of love and war, revolution and change.” Heavy metal cover stars of the same NZM issue, Alien Weaponry, were awarded Best Music Video by a Māori Artist | Ataata Māori Hira o te Tau for their powerful single Kai Tangata.
Other award winners on the night included last year’s award-winning Male Solo Artist Troy Kingi this year took the title for Best Māori Pop Album | Kaipūoru Māori for his ‘Shake That Skinny Ass All the Way To Zygertron’ while Wellington band Tomorrow People were awarded Best Roots, Reggae | Kōpaeroa Autaia Roots, Reggae for their album ‘BBQ Reggae’.
Back in the spotlight again, Auckland singer/songwriter Seth Haapu won the Best Māori Songwriter | Kaitito Waiata Māori Autaia with his track New Wave. For the second year in a row Six60 took out Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist | Kōpae-Irirangi Kaipūoro Māori o te Tau, this year with Don’t Give It Up. Pop sensations Maimoa were awarded Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist in Te Reo Māori | Kōpae-Irirangi Kaipūoro Reo Māori o te Tau for their hit Wairua.
Two Emerging Artists awards were also made; singer and rapper Ngatai Waretini in the Under 25 section and soul singer Arona Maui in the Over 25.