Pacific music and musicians were celebrated at the 2022 Pacific Music Awards event held in Manukau on August 4, the first in-person PMA ceremony since Covid’s arrival almost three years ago.
As ever it was a night of praise and colourful celebration, tempered with expressions of the need for ongoing care and attention to artist and community wellbeing, and light-heartedly sprinkled with references to opportunities for top-table representation that upcoming local body elections offer the Pacific people of Tamaki Makaurau.
While nine of the 26 finalists across 13 awards categories were first-time finalists, the majority of trophies went to the more familiar established acts, notably previous winners Kings, SWIDT and Tomorrow People. The latter were named Best Roots/Reggae Artist as well as winning the year’s Tui award for Best Pacific Music Album with their album ’21’.
A five-time winner back in 2019, Kings once again made repeated trips to the podium. He was judged Best Pacific Male Artist and received both the NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award and Streaming Award for his track Help Me Out, which also features Sons of Zion. He also presenting his own new Arch Angel Independent Artist Award to Te Atatu teen hip hop artist Lilbubblegum, whose breakout track Af1s went viral last year with over 20 million Spotify streams. It was one of a cluster of new awards extending and enhancing the annual Pacific Music Awards in 2022.
Onehunga’s hip hop crew SWIDT took home three of the night’s major awards, as Best Pacific Group, Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist, and Best Pacific Song for Kelz Garage, written by Daniel Latu, Amon McGoram, Isaiah Libeau, Lomez Brown and Sam Verlinden.
Kas Futialo received the award for Best Pacific Language for his ‘Grandmasta Kas’ album, while fresh RnB talent Jarna was awarded the Phillip Fuemana Award for Most Promising Pacific Artist.
Edutaining TV drama series The Panthers provided a pair of winners with Diggy Dupé, Choicevaughan and P. Smith (aka Troy Kingi) recognised with the Best Producer award for their work on ‘The Panthers OST’. The video to one of the show’s songs, Ain’t The Same featuring Melodownz and Summer Vaha’akolo, also won Best Pacific Music Video.
Shepherds Reign received the first Creative NZ Award, in recognition of their contributions to the Pacific music scene and to help further the impact of their art. For the second year in a row Auckland sibling outfit Samson Squad were publicly voted as People’s Choice Best Pacific Artist.
“We are grateful and so thankful that we could return with a live event this year for the Pacific Music Awards,” says the PMA event producer Petrina Togi-Sa’ena. “With more award categories and a full show of amazing live performances, it was such a wonderful uplifting night. Huge thanks to our sponsors, funders, supporters and the team that work so hard to make the awards event possible. Congratulations to all the finalists, winners and award recipients – we are so proud of you all!”