Our stars shine at mu­sic awards



Toko­roa has lived up to its name as the ‘‘ 16th star’’ of the Cook Is­lands, tak­ing home an im­pres­sive haul of medals from the in­au­gu­ral Tangi Reka Mu­sic Awards.

Cook Is­land mu­si­cians from the South Waikato town brought home 10 awards, in­clud­ing Best Cook Is­land Male Artist and Best Cook Is­land Fe­male Artist won by Aaron Mu­tua and Susie Monga re­spec­tively.

The ac­co­lades came as a shock to the pair who were com­pet­ing against the best Cook Is­land mu­si­cians in the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing some of their ‘‘child­hood idols’’ Brother Love and Ne­sian Mys­tic.

‘‘To be able to share that stage with them was such an hon­our,’’ Monga said.

The red car­pet awards cer- AWARDS

Best Cook Is­land Male Artist: Aaron Mu­tua

Best Cook Is­land Fe­male Artist: Susie Monga

Ad­vo­cates of Cook Is­land Mu­sic: Patty Pi­rato and Ti­mote Turu

Best Cook Is­land String Band: Ti­aki Strings

Best Cook Is­land Mu­si­cian: Isamaela Heather emony held in Auck­land hon­oured and cel­e­brated those be­hind the jour­ney of Cook Is­lands mu­sic dur­ing the past 50 plus years and was hosted by the Tangi Reka Arts and Cul­tural Trust.

For the first time, trib­ute was

Best Cook Is­land Com­poser: Akaperepere Pu­noua

Roa Te Tu­atau Long Ser­vice: Akaperepere Pu­noua

Cook Is­land Hall of Fame: Akaperepere Pu­noua NOM­I­NA­TIONS

Best Cook Is­land Pro­duc­ers: Bob Ti­aki and Isamaela Heather

Ad­vo­cates of Cook Is­land Mu­sic: Teopoko Natua paid to the greats of Cook Is­lands mu­sic with ac­knowl­edge­ment given to those who con­trib­uted to its growth and de­vel­op­ment.

But it was Toko­roa’s Tim­ber­land Soulz, a band which Mu­tua and Monga are a part of, that re­ally stole the stage. The five piece ‘‘ gang’’ took out two of the 15 cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing Best Con­tem­po­rary Band and Best Cook Is­land Singing Group while man­ager Patty Pi­rato re­ceived the Ad­vo­cates of Cook Is­land Mu­sic Award.

Mu­tua said as a town, Toko­roa did ex­cep­tion­ally well.

‘‘We don’t do it for the ac­knowl­edge­ment. The Cook Is­land mar­ket is not re­ally like that but to be recog­nised from a small town as a New Zealand born Cook Is­lan­der was a real hon­our.’’

He said Toko­roa is known as the ‘‘ 16th star’’ of the Cook Is­lands.

‘‘ That’s a trib­ute to our an­ces­tors and those who came to Tok to bet­ter their lives and sowed the good seeds . . . It’s our duty to con­tinue do­ing that, sow­ing those seeds of lan­guage and cul­ture with pride.’’

Many of Toko­roa’s award win­ners were taught Cook Is­lands as a sec­ond lan­guage, mak­ing the awards ex­tra spe­cial, Mu­tua said.

‘‘We’ve got to make sure our pro­nun­ci­a­tion is ex­actly right. We’ve got to work ex­tra hard.’’

But it seems it has paid off. He gave spe­cial men­tion to Akarere Henry, June Stow­ers, Rev­erend Bill Cuthers and his wife Mii and the late Taria King­stone.

‘‘Those are the youth lead­ers who re­ally pushed us in our church.’’

And look­ing back, he said they were thank­ful their par­ents were so strict on lan­guage and cul­ture.

‘‘We didn’t un­der­stand it then but we re­ally un­der­stand it now . . . We would not change it for any­thing.’’

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