Today marks the launch of the Aotearoa Music Awards. Developed by creative agency LIKEMINDS in collaboration with specialist Māori concept and creative studio HAUMI, the Aotearoa Music Awards reinterpret what it means to be a Kiwi musician and artist.
LIKEMINDS founder and creative director Damian Alexander says the Aotearoa Music Awards acronym “AMA” (pronounced ah-mah) is an intentional reference to Te Ao Māori: “We are embedding and acknowledging the indigenous culture of Aotearoa and the environment from where our musicians can flourish and prosper.
“An ama is the outrigger used to support waka during voyages across the ocean. In the same way, that Recorded Music NZ and the Aotearoa Music Awards support and celebrate New Zealand musicians and their work, as well as the support of the wider creative industry in Aotearoa.”
Says Noel Blackwell, founder and strategy director, LIKEMINDS: “Working with our friends and wider LIKEMINDS Whanau on this project has been a real joy. Karl Johnstone and Joe Pihema from HAUMI have been such a creative force on this project. All the artists and the wider music industry collaborators have been amazing and generous with their time and as always the team at Mediaworks have pushed hard for the most powerful work possible.
“Of course capping it all off has been bringing Tiki Taane and Laughton Kora into the Kaupapa to create a bespoke musical score for the storytelling. They have created an absolutely stunning soundscape for us, specifically designed to bring the awards narrative firmly back to the true resonance of this place we call home.”
Recorded Music NZ Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa Sarah Owen says the decision to rebrand the awards aligns with continued efforts over the years to recognise Aotearoa’s tangata whenua and Te Reo Māori as the first language of New Zealand, as well as the importance of Te Ao Māori in our lives.
Says Owen: “Aotearoa is a land of diversity and stories, evoking people to share their experiences with us through music. Our artists are kaihanga of one of our greatest treasures – the music and songs that defines our lives.
“With the renaming to Aotearoa Music Awards and the kaupapa behind that, we are taking another step in bringing the awards back to the core of what they’re for: to celebrate, support and encourage the creative journeys of all our recording artists.”