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.’’