Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman and his partner Katya Paquin enjoyed attending the 5th annual Pacific Music Awards at the Telstra Clear Pacific Events Centre in Manukau City on Saturday night.
Russel’s attendance was noted in speeches by Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina Te Heuheu and Vui Mark Gosche. And Niu FM’s Sela Alo – a presenter at the awards along with his breakfast show co-host Te’eva Tagaloa-Leniu – name-checked Russel, then made a joke at Melissa Lee’s expense, saying the National MP was “still on the motorway”.
The Green Party’s candidate for Mangere, Reverend Mua Strickson-Pua opened the night with a prayer that spoke of music ‘to help us through the recession’.
It was also a night that celebrated family and community. Niuean reggae musician, and Polynesian Panther Tigilau Ness was honoured with the Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Achievement Award. He spoke on stage, surrounded by his grandsons, then was surprised by son Che Fu, who performed in honour of his father.
Russel met David Tua and complimented the Tuaman on his freestyle rap performance. Tua had opened his speech with a Maori mihi, then switched to eloquent tautala lelei for a Samoan language greeting, then addressed the audience in English, before his compelling hip-hop performance that urged young Polynesian men to stay away from gang culture and represent their families and communities with honour and respect.
Reverend Mua’s son Feleti “Sabre” Strickson-Pua and his band Nesian Mystik were stars of the evening, winning four awards – the Nui FM Best Pacific Urban Artist Award, the Radio 531pi Best Pacific Group Award and the coveted Tui for the S3 Best Pacific Music Album for ‘Elevator Musiq’.
Well-known female hip hop and R’n'B artist, Ladi 6 took out the award for Pacific Blue Best Pacific Female Artist for her debut solo album ‘Time is not Much’.
Other winners at the S3 Pacific Music Awards 2009 were Devolo, who won NZ Commission Best Pacific Male Artist for ‘Heaven & Hell’
Best Pacific Gospel Album was awarded to Oyster Music – various artists for ‘The Gospel According to..’
The Phillip Fuemana Award went to Sweet & Irie. And the Manukau City Council People’s Choice Award went to the South Auckland Community Church Band
Also acknowledged for his outstanding achievements and success in the music industry internationally was Savage for his hit single ‘Swing’.
Pacific Music Awards chairperson Reverend Mua said the award winners of the 2009 S3 Pacific Music Awards truly highlight the success and achievements of Pacific music artists within the industry.
“During these hard economic times it’s great to be able to celebrate something as uplifting and positive as Pacific music.”
Amen to that Reverend.