Past winners and rising stars were recognised at tonight’s Vodafone Pacific Music Awards at the Vodafone Event Centre in Manukau, Auckland.

Punialava’a were announced as the 2018 Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and were acknowledged for their widespread influence and significant contribution to Samoan music and culture.

A highlight of the night was their performance of a stunning medley of career-defining hits. The celebrations continue for the group on 9 June, when they celebrate 50 years of Punialava’a music.

Ladi6 was one of the big winners taking home three awards including Best Pacific Female Artist and Recorded Music NZ Best Pacific Music Album Tui. Ladi’s producers Parks, Brandan Haru and Julien Dyne took out SIT/MAINZ Best Producer for their work on Royal Blue 3000 EP.

Taking New Zealand by storm in late 2017 was ‘Here To Stay’ by 12-year-old General Fiyah. Tonight the track earned him the APRA Best Pacific Song and helped propel him to the highly coveted Vodafone People’s Choice Award. Samson Rambo was also celebrated for his work on the ‘Here To Stay’ video, receiving the NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video.

Berlin-based musician Noah Slee picked up two awards for NZ Music Commission Best Pacific Male Artist and Pacific Media Network Best Pacific Urban Artist, while local reggae group Tomorrow People were acknowledged as the Pacific Media Network Best Pacific Group, as well as Sunpix Best Pacific Language for their songs ‘Lock Me Up’ and ‘Sa’ili Le Alofa’.

Californian Tenelle was recognised for her work on For The Lovers album with the Flava Best International Pacific Artist, while the EFKS Te Atatu Junior Youth received the Auckland Council Best Pacific Gospel Artist.

The inaugural NZ On Air Streaming Award was presented to Kings for his song ‘We’ll Never Know’, while Brooke Fraser received the NZ On Air Radio Airplay for her song ‘Therapy’.

The Special Recognition Award was presented to the Otara Music & Arts Centre (OMAC) for outstanding achievement and service to the community. OMAC has become the cornerstone of the South Auckland community and its influence on artists from its local community, wider New Zealand and around the world, is immeasurable.  This award and all the praise is well deserving, especially after 30 years of operation.

Samoan rapper Poetik received the Phillip Fuemana Award for most promising Pacific artist.  Through his music he aims to buildup the Polynesian hiphop scene, by influencing the old Pacific Island traditions of love, respect and unity.

Chairman and spokesperson Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua says: “The Vodafone Pacific Music Awards Fakavikiviki congratulates the outstanding Musika Pasifika achievements of excellence from such a diverse and rich musical expressions from traditional language to cultural contemporary, choral to gospel, hip hop to pop, and critical social commentary to new experimental this bodes well for the wider New Zealand music scene.

“Rev. Iosefa Lale Peteru and Mrs Vini Peteru, the parent pioneers of Punialava’a, have humbly shared their musical passion of faith, songs of hope and a love of Samoa. Their legacy continues with their children and grandchildren, and they are all honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Otara Music & Arts Centre OMAC, we cannot under estimate the historical musical contribution of this Taonga which would give the New Zealand Music scene our historical contribution of the South Auckland sound that is recognised globally today.”