Her Majesty Queen Sālote Tupou lll recognised as the 2019 Lifetime Achievement recipient

The Pacific music industry was in full celebration tonight as the winners for the 15th annual Pacific Music Awards were announced at the Vodafone Event Centre in Manukau, Auckland.

KINGS and Tomorrow People are quickly becoming Pacific music legends, adding to their previous hauls with four 2019 awards each.

Along with the other guests in the packed arena, they recognised Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Her Majesty Queen Sālote Tupou lll – first Queen regnant and third Monarch of the Kingdom of Tonga.

Ruling for 48 years until her passing in 1965 – longer than any other Tongan monarch – she was an avid writer of songs and poems. Her work captured Tongan culture and heritage for the people of Tonga.  In recent times, her work has been shared through a collection published in 2004.

An album of her compositions ‘Lomipeau Aotearoa’ was released in 2017.  These unique recordings were performed by Auckland-based dance group Pukepuke o’ Tonga, breathing new life into the sounds and melodies of ancient Tonga through the late Queen’s poetry.

KINGS took home Best Pacific Male Artist, APRA Best Pacific Song, and the NZ On Air Streaming Award, as well as SIT/MAINZ Best Producer alongside 10A for their album ‘Lov3 & 3go’.

Tomorrow People picked up Recorded Music Best Pacific Music Album, Pato Entertainment Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist, and PMN Best Pacific Group following the release of their 2018 EP ‘BBQ Reggae’. They also received the coveted SunPix People’s Choice Award for Best Pacific Artist.

After falling in love with hip hop dance, Razé evolved her passion into making incredible music. Her single ‘Not About You’ led her to win Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist and Best Pacific Soul/RnB Artist.

The brother duo Adeaze had their first appearance in the Pacific Music Awards back in 2005. And now they’re back with their latest album ‘A Mother’s Love’ released to pay tribute to their late mother, which won PMN Best Pacific Gospel Artist this year.

Onehunga powerhouse hip hop group SWIDT were back at it again this year as well, picking up the Base FM NZ & Island Base FM Samoa Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist after releasing their EP ‘The Most Electrifying’.

Hailing from the Solomon Islands, Jaro Local received the award for Flava Best International Pacific Artist showcasing his international hit song ‘Dakini Tangarareh’. Villette’s unique virtual reality music video, ‘Money’, won her the NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video at this year’s awards.

Samoan group Punialava’a received the Lifetime Achievement award in 2018. They’ve continued to produce amazing Pacific music in 2018, earning them the SunPixBest Pacific Language award this year. The NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award went to General Fiyah ft Three Houses Down with their song ‘Here to Stay’.

Melodownz was recognised as this year’s recipient for Phillip Fuemana Award for Most Promising Pacific Artist. After releasing his debut EP in 2017, he has been steady building a name for himself both locally and internationally – opening for the likes of YG, Joey Bada$$ and Raekown of Wu Tang fame. At the end of last year, he released a double EP called ‘HIGH BEAMS’ and has big plans for the remainder of 2019 and beyond.

Chairman and spokesperson Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua says: “The 15th celebration of the Pacific Music Awards speaks of past achievements – but, just as important, the future. Humble Pacific music beginnings with global musical ramifications.

“Tonight, we travel with our Pacific Music Awards mindful of the Rangatahi Auatalavou young people the new finalists, the Wahine Toa strong powerful Pacific woman artists presence and Taonga the treasures of our Pacific languages we have been blessed indeed. We acknowledge the first Melanesian finalists malo.

There are new Pacific sayings when traditional Pacific music engages with urban Pacific music. Our Malaga ola, life journey sings of our Pacific unity and new hope.”

The awards provided a showcase of the best in Pacific music – with an incredible line up throughout the night.  Alongside the special tribute performance for Her Majesty Queen Sālote Tupou lll, there were finalist performances by Adeaze, Poetik Melodownz, Razé, Tree, Punialava’a, Jaro Local and Tomorrow People.

The evening closed with a massive medley performance paying tribute to 15 years of the Pacific Music Awards – a fitting way to close the night’s celebration.