Vodafone NZ Music Awards 2014

Lorde, The big winner on the night

Lorde, The big winner on the night

In 1976 I left the farm and to become a boarder at Sacred Heart College in Auckland, a school that had recently educated boys that went on to form bands like Split Enz, The Dudes and Citizen Band among others.  The mystic that surrounded these recently departed old boys was palpable and I found myself becoming swept up in at all. I had discovered Kiwi music and I liked it.

Later, two incidents in particular inspired my growing and passionate advocacy for Kiwi music.

The first involved Radio Waikato. It was 1977 and I was home for the school holidays and Dads radio was tuned to the station in question. I was thrilled and surprised to realise the song I was hearing was My Mistake from the new Split Enz album Dizrhythmia. My delight was quickly undone by the jock who at the end of the song said:  “Well, we won’t be playing that rubbish again; it’s not the kind of music Kiwis want to hear.”

The other incident  involved prominent Hauraki morning host Blackie, (Kevin Black),  who hit the headlines in 1981 because of his refusal to play Auckland band The Screaming Meemees  No1 hit single See Me Go. He hated the sound, the ‘poor production quality’ and dour lyrics. His attitude was much the same as Radio Waikato. Local music was by in large second rate nonsense undeserving of the industries patronage.

The sad state of affairs was such that by 1991, local radio was playing less than 2% local music, this despite a healthy live scene and a vibrant DIY recording industry that was scoring with both critics and audiences alike.

In 1997 a Government and Recording Industry initiative, The Kiwi Music Action Group  was formed to compel radio stations to broadcast New Zealand music. The group initiated New Zealand Music Week and in 2000 this grew into New Zealand Music Month which further served the cause of struggling local artists..

Meanwhile newly elected Prime Minister and Minister of the Arts Helen Clarke informed the Radio sector:  “play more local music or we will make you”.

The Radio Industry grudgingly consented to a voluntary 15% local music quota and the result was miraculous. Exposed to hitherto unheard artists, audiences lapped it up and the demand for local music exploded.

By 2005, the local content on commercial radio had risen to 20% and local artists were scoring number one albums and singles with clockwork regularity.

Once upon a time the NZ Music awards was a poverty stricken operation but not anymore.  The 2014 Vodafone NZ Music Awards was a glittering red affair that played to an enthusiastic crowd at a packed Vector arena in Auckland,  a testament to Helen Clarke’s vision and courage, and the stars; remarkably unpretentious.


I found a nice vantage point near the stage door and got some amusement from the entourage that accompanied Lorde from podium to media room and back again. Her two towering Polynesian bodyguards seemed thrilled to find me where I wasn’t meant to be and managed to take the time to push me aside at every opportunity regardless of the fact that I was standing against the wall and really couldn’t be pushed anywhere. I was glad to be of service and to give them something to do. The collective of coiffured blonds with clipboards sailing in her wake were also quite funny.

And as for The Herald’s comments about Lorde’s accent? She sounded like a Kiwi who was trying to speak clearly for the benefit of an international audience. We forget that our fast and high pitched brand of English can be incomprehensible to foreigners and more and more The NZ Music awards are being pitched at an increasingly interested overseas market.

All in all, a brilliant night.

And awards went to:

*Best Electronica Album:  Opioiu –  Meraki

*Best Male Solo Artist: David Dallas

*Best Female Artist:  Lorde

*Best Maori Album:  Rob Ruha –  Tiki Tapu

*International Achievement Award:  Lorde

*Best Roots Album:  Tama Waipara – Fill Up the Silence

*Best Alternative Album:  Tiny Ruins – Brightly Painted One

*NZ On Air Best Music Video:  Director Campbell Hooper –  Hearts like Ours,  The Naked and Famous.

*Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Broods

*NZ Herald Legacy Award:  Supergroove

*Vodafone People’s Choice Award:  Stan Walker

*Vodafone Single of the Year:  Lorde – Team

*Mentos Album of the Year:  Lorde-  Pure Heroine

* NZ on Air Airplay Record of the Year: Stan Walker – Bulletproof

*Four Highest Selling Album: Sol3mio – Sol3mio

*Vodaphone Highest Selling Single: Lorde –  Royals

*Best Urban Hip- Hop Album:  David Dallas – Falling Into Place

*The Edge Best Pop Album:  Lorde – Pure Heroine

*Best Cassical Album:  Jack Body – Poems of Love and War

* Steinlager Pure Best Group: The Naked And Famous

* Best Rock Group:  Blacklistt

*Best Gospel Christian Album:  Mosaic – You Surround

*Best Album Cover:  Anna Taylor & Ken Clark – The Nihilist (Liam Finn)

*Best Producer: Joel Little – Pure Heroine (Lorde)

*Best Engineer:  Joel Little – Pure Heroine (Lorde)

*NZ On Air Critics’ Choice Prize:  Randa

*Best Pacific Music Album:  Sol3 Mio – Sol3 Mio

*Best Country Album:  Kaylee Bell – Heart First

*Best Folk Album: Tattletale Saints – How Red is the Blood

*Best Jazz Album:  Nathan Haines – Vermillion Skies


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