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Finalists announced for 2023 Children's Music Awards | Ngā Manu Tīrairaka

Story Published Saturday 22 April 2023

What do singing unicorns, elephants on the moon, persistent pirate-biting fleas, stealth bunnies and an operatic hippopotamus have in common? They are all topics explored by some of this year’s finalists for the NZ Children’s Music Awards Ngā Manu Tīrairaka – an annual presentation celebrating music written for kids.

The 2023 finalists are our storytellers, rhymers and singers, writing and recording songs that ignite a love for music in New Zealand children. These songs tell ‘our’ stories - Christmas in Aotearoa (no snow!), Tuatara in our Gumboots and embrace te reo Māori to educate and engage. They introduce values and share positive messages, like the power of finding your voice, seeing things from others perspectives, and engaging with others even if we don’t agree with them. These writers and creators are wildly imaginative, talented, experienced, creative, refreshing and absolutely blooming with exceptional waiata that is being acknowledged across Aotearoa and the world.

We are very pleased to announce the finalists for the 2023 NZ Children’s Music Awards Ngā Manu Tīrairaka. Drum roll please….

APRA Best Children’s Song | Te Korokoro Tūī finalists:

Nicolla Morehouse for A Tuatara In My Gumboot performed by Miss Nicky Says
Lavina Williams and Mark Casey for Aotearoa Sun performed by Jaya
Charles Looker and Emily Looker for Kia Mau, performed by Aro

Recorded Music New Zealand Te Kaipuoro Waiata Tamariki Toa | Best Children’s Artist finalists:

Claudia Robin Gunn
Itty Bitty Beats
Levity Beet

NZ On Air Best Children’s Music video | Te Huia Kaimanawa finalists:

fleaBITE for ‘A Pirate meets a Flea’ video by Ross Payne
The Nukes for ‘Elephants are on the Moon’ video by Dave Thomson of Imaginary Friends
Jeremy Redmore for ‘Sing Like A Unicorn’ video by Adam Rowland of Awkward Animations

As curator of the Children’s Music Awards and a NZ children’s music writer, author, and broadcaster herself, Suzy Cato is very proud of the children’s music community of Aotearoa.

Each year I exclaim about how the ‘bar has been raised’, again. This year is no different! A record number of entries, in all categories within NGĀ MANU TĪRAIRAKA – The Children’s Music Awards 2023, and a wealth of songs, across a plethora of genres and age groups. There is something for everyone within this year’s incredible lineup of entrants and I am so very proud of how our children’s music industry continues to grow and diversify to capture the imagination; the minds, hearts and boogie bottoms of tamariki across Aotearoa.

Presented by Recorded Music NZ, APRA AMCOS 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.

Winners will be announced at an invite only ceremony on Sunday 7 May at Tuning Fork, Spark Arena. The show will be hosted by Suzy Cato with awards presented by tamariki from across Aotearoa. There will be live performances, video screenings, and to follow the awards, interactive music-making workshops, afternoon tea, and plenty of fun and games.

Thanks to APRA AMCOS NZ, Recorded Music NZ, Spark Arena and NZ On Air who have created a special Spotify playlist celebrating this year's finalists, available here.