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Announcing the Winners of the 2021 Children's Music Awards

Story Published Sunday 16 May 2021

Blast your trumpets and blow your horns. The winners of the 2021 NZ Children’s Music Awards – celebrating those writing and recording for our youngest generation of Kiwi tamaraki, have been announced:

APRA Best Children's Song winner:

  • Michal Bush, Andrew Knopp, Victoria Knopp for 'Brave' performed by Music with Michal

Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Waiata Tamariki Toa / Best Children’s Music Artist winner:

NZ On Air Best Children's Music Video winner: 

  • Captain Festus McBoyle for 'Bubble' video written and directed by Larissa Lofley, produced by Pea-Knuckle Productions

Also celebrated was What Now, this year’s recipient of the Baysting Prize for Children’s Champion. Presented via video recording by Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, the award acknowledges significant and outstanding contribution to the development and wellbeing of New Zealand tamariki, through the creation of or support for music, TV programmes, films, videos, live shows, books, education, or advocacy.

“’What Now’ has been creating innovative, educational and entertaining content for 40 years. Transforming kiwi kids weekends, telling our stories, singing our songs,” says Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern. “My whole-hearted congratulations to Whitebait Productions, TVNZ and everyone who has put in the mahi over the years to make ‘What Now’ what it is. I will be amongst many generations of children who remember the show well and fondly.”

The awards were held this afternoon (Sunday 16 May) at a special family-friendly event at Tuning Fork, Spark Arena. Opened by Suzy Cato and hosted by teens Riley and Morgan, the celebration was opened with a mihi whakatau by tamariki from Newton Central School, followed by more of our kiwi kids presenting finalists and winners. Guests were treated to live performances by Music with Michal, Loopy Tunes Preschool Music, KindyRock’s Judi Cranston and Chris Lam Sam. Following the awards, tamariki experienced creative musical activities from the Rockshop, Melodics, taonga puoro practioner Shane Mclean and more as part of the Sounds Fun event. The afternoon concluded with a BBQ for whānau courtesy of Spark Arena.

Presented by Recorded Music NZ, APRA NZ and NZ On Air, the awards have the support of Kiwi Kids Music, the national association of children’s songwriters, creators and producers. Formed by some of the most passionate creators of music for Kiwi Kids, the association supports NZ children’s music creators and seeks to advance the potential of all our children to live healthy fulfilling lives.

Thanks to all the performers and presenters, Spark Arena and NZ On Air who have created a special Spotify playlist celebrating this years finalists, available here.

Captain Festus McBoyle is played by Richard Manic. His Vaudevillian-styled troupe offers an offbeat, slightly edgey alternative to the NZ children’s music scene. 2020 finalist for Best Children’s Music Artist, the song ‘Bubble’ was conceived during lockdown and written through the eyes of a 7-year old.  On stage the Captain is joined by Miss Lucy Drawers (Larissa Lofley) and Ebenezer Strong (Gareth Price). With many prestigious appearances both here and overseas now under their belts, they have just been signed to China’s biggest independent record label, Modern Sky.

fleaBITE 5th album ‘Snakes Alive’ as taken home the Tūī for Best Children’s Music Artist for the third time. Producer/writer Robin Nathan has previously won two Tūī awards for Best Children’s Album (Circus of Fleas and The Jungle Is Jumping). Their podcast series Everybody Wants To Join The fleaBITE Band is a finalist in the NZ Radio Broadcast Awards for Best Children’s Programme. Aimed at older children, fleaBITE's style is cheeky, bold, innovative and entertaining, and there are always special guests to spice up the mix.

Michal Bush, has been writing and performing songs inspired by children, the young at heart and her seaside community since 2012. Best known for the popular ‘Kindness is Free’, ‘Seagull Song’ and ‘Brave’ – Michal’s songs are sung in schools and early childhood centres all over New Zealand, and streamed in homes and radio stations all over the world! In 2020, Michal collaborated with production duo and multi-instrumentalists Victoria and Andrew Knopp. The duo have their own indie-pop project The Response and work with various NZ acts to help them shape and develop their sound.