Hosted by an enthusiastic John Campbell at Auckland’s Vector Arena, the Silver Scrolls 2016 proved both collegial and contentious.
Well-judged to avoid any challenge regarding racial balance, the choice of finalists and winner instead led to controversy over the annual awards’ exclusion of certain music genres.
A major highlight of the night was seeing ‘artivist’ and internationally reknowned performer Moana Maniapoto being inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame for the significant impact she has had on the country’s culture through her music. Moana’s rousing acceptance speech was followed by spontaneous haka and singing among the audience.
After winning three Waiata Maori Music Awards this year, the multi-talented Rob Ruha repeated his 2014 winning streak by taking home his second APRA Maioha Award for his song Kariri. Featuring Tiki Taane, the song retells of the story of the Battle of Gate Pa/Pukehinahina in 1864.
Wellington composer and violinist Salina Fisher became the youngest ever winner of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award for her Wellington weather-inspired composition Rainphase.
The award for Best Original Music in a Feature Film was won by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper and Tama Waipara for their work on the Lee Tamahori-directed movie Mahana.
Another evidently surprised by his win was composer of music for film and television, Karl Steven (Supergroove etc.), who received the Best Original Music in a Series Award for the drama 800 Words.
It was hard-working Wellington singer/songwriter (and Weissenborn player) Thomas Oliver who took home the main award, the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll. Thomas’s space-based love song If I Move To Mars beat out the four other finalists Lydia Cole, The Phoenix Foundation, Tami Neilson and Street Chant.
The win seemed unexpected for many in the audience and has since been widely talked about by some openly outraged commentators, including this expression of frustration on behalf of supporters of our local hip hop produce.
The creative mind behind the musical direction of the ceremony this year was songwriter Sean James Donnelly (aka SJD), making for a variety of striking cover versions of the finalists and winners of the night by artists like Nadia Reid, Soccer Practice, Courtney Hate, Anna Coddington, Jocee Tuck, Yoko-Zuna & Bailey Wiley, as well as newcomers Courtney Hate and two new supergroups – Oystercatcher, made up of Steve Abel, Reb Fountain, Milan Borich (Pluto), Gareth Thomas (Goodshirt), producer Tom Healy (Paquin), Nick Atkinson (Supergroove, Hopetoun Brown) and Mike Hall (Nightchoir), and a trio made up of drummer extraordinaire Chris O’Connor alongside Jakob‘s Jeff Boyle and a decidedly badass Julia Deans.