Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Pacific Music Awards 2021: Meet the Winners

The biggest night for Pasifika music and musicians, the Pacific Music Awards took place at the Vodafone Events Centre tonight — the second time in the awards’ history that the event has gone virtual.

While the audience and atmosphere was sorely missed (perhaps more so for the performing acts), the energy brought by hosts John Pulu and Niu FM’s Petrina Hall filled the stage and screen.

The event also delivered large on visual and musical spectacle, opening the ceremony with a powerful tribute by Oceans Before Me.

The group paid homage to the Polynesian Panthers who celebrated their 50th anniversary this year.

Emily Muli - Most Promising Artist Award
Emily Muli was awarded the Phillip Fuemana Most Promising Artist Award

Emily Muli took the first award of the night with the Philip Fuemana Most Promising Artist award.

“Honestly, it feels really overwhelming,” Muli told reporter Hanalei Foliaki backstage.

“It feels like a challenge, to be awarded Most Promising Artist, but it feels like a good challenge. It’ll push me to do more.”

With Diggy Dupé, Church & AP and Melodownz as nominees, awarding the Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist was always going to be a tough one.

But Melodownz eventually emerged victorious, dedicating his award to those battling mental struggles.

“All of us have been going through something, obviously because of the pandemic.”

Melodownz, winner of 2 PMAs tonight
Melodownz walked away with Best Pacific Hip Hop artist and the Best Pacific Male artist award

“Just another reminder to check on your friends and make sure your crew is all good.”

“I know a lot of people out there are suffering silently; this is for them.”

Shepherds Reign won the Best Pacific Language Award for their song Aiga, and no one was more surprised than the band itself.

“Who would’ve thought a metal band would win Best Pacific Language?” they mused backstage.

“It’s a really nice confirmation that us as a group are doing the right thing by our language, and it’s showing. So really proud of it.”

The Peoples Choice Award is the only award determined by public vote, and Samson Squad walked away with the coveted award.

Samson Squad win Peoples Choice Award
Peoples Choice Award was won by Cook Islands group Samson Squad

The group’s main songwriter, Jay Samson, shared this anecdote: “I remember when I was 12-years-old when we watched one of the Pacific Music Awards, I told my Dad, ‘One day I’ll get this for the Cook Islands’.”

“And here I am with my family, receiving this award. So for me this is such a milestone.”

Singer/songwriter Tenelle won the Niu FM Best International Artist award. The artist accepted the award all the way from her base in the States.

“Aotearoa, you mean so much to me.”

“Thank you so much for honouring me with this amazing win. Polynesian people stand up!”



Phillip Fuemana Most Promising Artist Award: Emily Muli

Special Recognition Award: Nick Afoa

Niu FM Best Pacific International Artist Award: Tenelle

NZ On Air Streaming Award: Jawsh 685

NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award: Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo, ‘Savage Love (Laxed Siren Beat)’

Best Producer: Nathan Judd for ‘Lou’ana, Moonlinght Madness’

NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video Award: Tree and Quincy Filiga ‘Afio Ane Loa

531pi Best Pacific Gospel Artist Award: Marley Sola ‘Lift Your Head High

Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist Award: Lepani ‘In the Moment EP’

One Love Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist Award: Victor J Sefo ‘My Everything’

Base FM & Island Base Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist Award: Melodownz ‘Fine

Sunpix Best Pacific Lanugage Award: Shepherds Reign ‘Aiga

Sunpix Peoples Choice Award: Samson Squad

APRA Best Pacific Song Award: Jawsh 685, Jason Derulo, Phil Greiss, Jacob Kasher-Hindin, ‘Savage Love (Laxed Siren Beat)’

FLAVA Best Pacific Group: Team Dynamite ft, Louis Baker ‘Dragon Fruit

Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist Award: Lou’ana ‘Moonlight Madness’

NZ Music Commission Best Pacific Male Artist Award: Melodownz ‘Fine’

Recorded Music NZ Best Pacific Album Award: Tree ‘Mrs Tree

MIT Lifetime Achievement Award: George ‘Fiji’ Veikoso

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