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Members of the music community recognised in King's Birthday Honours

Story Published Tuesday 13 June 2023

Several members of the Aotearoa music community have been recognised for their work as part of the King's Birthday honours this year: Doug Hood, Victoria Blood, Linn Lorkin, and Karen Grylls.

Doug Hood - To be an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the music industry.

Mr Doug Hood is regarded as a father figure in New Zealand’s alternative music community, helping invent the Dunedin Sound through his work with Flying Nun Records and as a producer, engineer, and tour operator.

Mr Hood became the sound engineer and manager of The Enemy/Toy Love in the late 1970s and helped record a number of bands with Chris Knox. He helped build the brand of Flying Nun Records. He supported numerous bands to tour and produce albums, including The Clean, Chills, Bats, Verlaines, Sneaky Feelings, Headless Chickens, The Able Tasmans, Netherworld Dancing Toys, and Dance Exponents. He mentored bands to improve their ability to play, tour and make a living and supported underfunded acts from around the country to get into studios, enabling the recording of many great Flying Nun records and singles. He developed himself as a concert promoter and ran Looney Tours in the 1980s and 1990s, which helped promote successful multi-band treks across the country. He then toured big name international artists to New Zealand including REM, Billy Bragg, New Order, the Violent Femmes, and U2. Mr Hood was involved in founding the Big Day Out, attracting further big name acts to Aotearoa and providing local bands the opportunity to play to stadium sized crowds and mix with international industry contacts.

Victoria Blood - To be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the entertainment industry.

Ms Victoria Blood has worked in music and the wider creative sector in New Zealand and internationally for 45 years. Ms Blood has been the Chair of the New Zealand Music Commission since 2013, has led the New Zealand Creative industries alliance WeCreate since 2015, and is a member of the Advisory Board of New Zealand Story.

She was Head of Creative Development for RCA Records and founded BMG Video in the United Kingdom from 1989 to 1997. She was co-founder and Managing Director of Byrne Blood Group in London from 1997 to 2003, providing management and production services to music artists, notably including Steps and A1, and has co-produced television programmes with the BBC and ITV. Since returning to New Zealand in 2004, she developed and managed Gin Wigmore between 2006 and 2010, helped Annah Mac achieve a number 1 single, and assisted Universal Music with the early development of Lorde. She has voluntarily mentored several young Kiwi artists towards forging careers in the music industry. Through her recent leadership roles with the New Zealand Music Commission and WeCreate, and New Zealand Story from 2022, Ms Blood has advocated to enhance the global potential of New Zealand’s creative sector and to utilise creativity to improve the lives of New Zealanders.

Linn Lorkin - To be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music.

Ms June Williamson, who performs under the stage name Linn Lorkin, is a piano, jazz and cabaret singer/songwriter with a music career spanning several decades.

Ms Lorkin started performing in the late 1960s, developing a repertoire of songs in several languages including French, Italian, Russian and Yiddish. She became part of Auckland’s inner city gig scene, working collaboratively with a diversity of musicians and bands, including Tama Renata with whom she founded the 1970s band Exit. She has been performing with The Jews Brothers Band since 1994 and French Toast since 2000 and has entertained throughout Europe and in the United States, where she was well known in Manhattan’s jazz piano bar scene, winning Best Cabaret in New York’s United Solo Festival in 2013 with her original show ‘Hey, Piano Bar Lady!’. She has written more than 100 songs and produced 18 albums, including six solo albums. Her songs include ‘K Rd’, ‘Helping Dad Milk the Cows’ and ‘Family at the Beach,’ which won Best Kiwi Summer Song in a New Zealand Radio listeners’ poll. She has co-written several music theatre pieces and performed multi-disciplinary shows with Inside Out Theatre. Ms Lorkin was awarded the Variety Artists’ Club New Zealand Scroll of Honour in 2014 and published her memoir ‘The Redhead Gets the Gig’ in 2022.

Karen Grylls - To be a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to choral music.

Dr Karen Grylls has been the Artistic Director of Choirs Aotearoa New Zealand since 1989 and was Musical Director of the New Zealand Youth Choir from 1989 to 2011.

Dr Grylls led the Youth Choir to international recognition as Best Mixed Choir at the 2007 Cantonigrós International Music Festival, Choir of the World at the International Eisteddfod and Overall Best Choir at Cantat Grand Prix in 1999. She was appointed Kaitiaki of Te Whānau Wehi and Waka Huia in 1999, bringing Māori music to the forefront of choral performance in New Zealand for more than two decades. She is founding director and Conductor Emerita of the University of Auckland Chamber Choir, having been principal conductor from 2006 to 2022. She established the University’s postgraduate choral conducting programmes in 2006. She is co-Artistic Director of the New Zealand Children’s Choral Academy founded in 2022. In 2006, Voices New Zealand won best classical album at the TUI New Zealand Music for ‘Spirit of the Land.’ From 2002 to 2008 she was a Board member of the International Federation of Choral Music and has been a Founding Board member of the New Zealand Choral Federation since 1985. Dr Grylls has been a presenter, artistic panellist and adjudicator at choral competitions and world symposiums for choral music in New Zealand since 1992.