2016 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards



By Lisa Diedricks

WOW. What an incredible night for NZ Music! As you all may know the 2016 NZ Vodafone Music Awards were last night, and man what a night it was! Everyone stepped up his or her glam, and believe me when I say everyone looked STUNNING! It was a night for all the stars of Aotearoa to walk the red carpet and celebrate the 51st year of the VNZMAs. The red carpet was rolled out, and familiar faces such as, the ladies from The Real Housewives of Auckland, Aaradhna, Tami Neilson, KINGS, Dave Dobbyn, Maala, the boys of Shapeshifter, and Fat Freddy’s Drop, and for the media, and music industry insiders, it was the perfect excuse to rub shoulders and mingle with everyone and enjoy a night out!

The night was filled with so many different emotions, as we saw many new local talent take home some epic wins, such as MAALA, who managed to snag “Best Male Solo Artist” for the night, and wowed guests with his hit single 'Kind of Love' from his debut album 'Composure'. KINGS was a huge act for the night, as he won “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” and also got the crowd hyped with his platinum single 'Don’t Worry ‘Bout It'. Popular artists of the year Broods, once again stole the show with 5 Tuis! The Nelson born locals have climbed to the top with the award categories, for the Godfrey Hirst Album of the Year for their beautiful effort on 'Conscious' and Vodafone Single of the Year, for their track ‘Free’. As well as winning “Best Group” and “The Edge Best Pop Album” They also took out the “Vodafone People’s Choice Award”, beating out their own record of FOUR Tuis from last year’s ceremony.

The coolest part of the night for me was watching those artists that don't necessarily get the recognition they deserve or the ones that don't get the radio play as much as the others get to walk on stage and be recognized in front of all their peers and within the industry. Awards like the “Te Mangai Paho Best Maori Album” which was a tough category this year, with all three of the finalists bringing something fresh, and simplistically unique to the table. Artist Rob Ruha received the award for Pūmau!

Other awards included “Best Electronic Album” and “Best Roots Album”, which were awarded to Pacific Heights for “The Stillness” and Unity Pacific for “Blackbirder Dread”, respectively.

Edge Kingsland won Best Worship Album for Edge Kingsland Vol 3: The Common Good, while Best Classical Album was awarded to Anthony Ritchie and Ross Harris for Fjarran. It was incredible to see such beautiful artistry amended for their hard work.

Everyone is currently still talking about the beautiful gesture Aaradhna portrayed, when she informed the crowd that her win for “Best Hip Hop/Urban” was not given to the most deserving, as she does not classify herself to be a rapper but a singer, and graciously gave her Tui to up and coming rap group SWIDT, who she says “are the future of today’s rap game if they continue to work hard” A’s speech included her strong outlook that just because you are a brown girl doesn’t mean you should be placed in a stereotypical box. Her speech won over the crowd and soon became today’s most talked about VMA moment of 2016.

Hosts of the night, Jono and Ben kept the night filled with laughs and that well known dry humour that we all know and love, and cant help but laugh at. Talking to guests and keeping the crowd entertained those break periods. NZ’s favourite comedians Guy Williams, Urzila Carlson and Laura Daniels had the crowd laughing too with their hilarious jokes, casual banter and even some epic rapping skills.

The night was quickly brought to a halt of nostalgia as kiwi icon Bic Runga was awarded the New Zealand Herald, Legacy Award, that was given to her by none other than the man himself, Mr Dave Dobbyn. Bic, was stunned as she took to the stage to thank all her peers, and received a standing applause by the entire arena, she then brought the entire crowd to belting volumes as she closed the night with hit single 'Sway' that quite literally had the crowd “swaying” and singing. It was such a beautiful way to end the night!

Celebrating NZ music is becoming bigger and bigger every year, as we are seeing such talented and unique artists come through our doors and bringing such beautiful and powerful messages to the NZ music scene. I’m excited to see what this new year has in store for us! Well done to all the winners and a huge congrats to all the artists that were nominated.