Despite delays and challenges created by COVID-19, the Pacific music community celebrated another year of outstanding music at the 16th annual Pacific Music Awards. The event was pre-recorded due to COVID-19 restrictions and aired as an online presentation this evening.

The big winners were Elijah Manu and Albert Purcell – better known as dynamic Auckland hip hop duo Church & AP.

The two talented rappers won FLAVA Best Pacific Group, Base FM NZ & Island Base Samoa Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist after the release of their debut album Teeth, and NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award for their single “Ready or Not”. Dera Meelan also took out Red Bull Best Producer for his work on the album.

Singer songwriter Olivia Foa’i of Te Vaka and ‘Moana’ fame celebrated with three awards of her own, recognising her tremendous success as a solo artist.

She won Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist, Sunpix Best Pacific Language, and Recorded Music NZ Te Pukaemi Toa o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa | Best Pacific Music Album for her debut solo album Candid.

The legacy of the late Fijian guitarist Daniel Rae Costello was honoured with the Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Achievement Award. Costello’s music captured many hearts across the Pacific and the world, with strong influences by the Caribbean sound.

Taking a break from his work with the EFKS Te Atatu Junior Youth Choir, Lani Alo embarked on a solo career with the release of his first single ‘Alo I Ou Faiva’, which won APRA Best Pacific Song and the 531pi Best Pacific Gospel Artist.

Kiwi hip hop sensation Kings won the NZ On Air Streaming Award for his single ‘6 Figures’, while the award for NZ Music Commission Best Pacific Male Artist went to Poetik after releasing Hamofied EP 2 last year, continuing to put Polynesian culture and issues on the map.

Other winners from the night include Jordan Gavet (Best Pacific Soul/RnB Artist), Tomorrow People (Pato Entertainment Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist), Josh Tatofi (Niu FM Best International Pacific Artist), Disciple Pati (NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video for ‘The Boy Who Cried Woman’), HP Boyz (Sunpix People’s Choice Award for Best Pacific Artist) and Victori J Sefo (Phillip Fuemana Award for Most Promising Pacific Artist).

Up-and-coming hip hop star Jawsh 685 was presented with his first award at his first awards show last night, receiving the Special Recognition Award at the 2020 Pacific Music Awards.

This year saw success for Josh Nanai – or Jawsh 685 – a 17-year-old producer from Auckland who’s catchy ‘Laxed – Siren Beat’ went viral on social media platform TikTok before being picked up by US pop star Jason Derulo – and more recently remixed with Korean Pop sensation BTS.

The resulting collaboration ‘Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat)’ has seen global success, reaching the #1 spot in seventeen countries including New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Chairman and spokesperson Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua says: “2020 Pacific Music Awards again travels new oceans of richness of Diversity and Inclusivity mirroring the Pasifika Wairuatanga spirit of overcoming life struggles and giving back to loved ones from Atua/God to sacred Tupuga Tupuna/ancestors. Each Finalist and Winner is a living example of Resilience and Hope worthy of honouring and celebrating hence why our 2020 Pacific Music Awards is You & Us Family, & Society Musika Resilience.”

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 Lifetime Achievement recipient Daniel Rae Costello by Stevie Heatley, with TCB the band who toured with Daniel across NZ and the Pacific, 2013-2015, there were finalist performances by Church & AP, Lomez Brown, Lou’ana, Shepherds Reign, Lani Alo, and Disciple Pati.

All first time performers at the Pacific Music Awards, this decision was made to showcase the new wave of Pacific talent coming through.

2020 Pacific Music Awards Winners

Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist:

  • WINNER: Olivia Foa’i – Candid
  • Bella Kalolo – ‘Ends of the Earth’
  • Lou’ana – ‘Move Along’

 NZ Music Commission Best Pacific Male Artist:

  • WINNER: Poetik – HAMOFIED 2 EP
  • Lepani – ‘Pockets Full of Love’
  • Noah Slee– Twice

 Flava Best Pacific Group:

  • WINNER: Church & AP – Teeth
  • Shepherds Reign – ‘Le Manu’
  • Tomorrow People – ‘Fever feat. Fiji’

 NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video:

  • WINNER: Disciple Pati – ‘The Boy Who Cried Woman’
    • Directed by Shae Stirling and Sapati Apa
  • Lou’ana– ‘Eye To Eye’
    • Directed by Annie Duckworth
  • SWIDT – ‘Bunga
    • Directed by Anahera Parata

 APRA Best Pacific Song:

  • WINNER: Lani Alo – ‘Alo I Ou Faiva’
    • Written by Metitilani Alo and Livingstone Efu
  • General Fiyah – ‘It’s You feat. Three Houses Down’
    • Written by Charlie Pome’e and Nicholas Pome’e
  • Shepherds Reign – ‘Le Manu’
    • Written by Oliver Leupolu, Filivaa James, Joseph Oti-George, Gideon Voon, Shaymen Rameka

 SunPix Best Pacific Language:

  • WINNER: Olivia Foa’i – Candid
  • Lani Alo – ‘Alo I Ou Faiva’
  • Punialava’a – Sili’aga I Fa’atufugaga, Beyond Our Stories
  • Shepherds Reign – ‘Le Manu’

Base FM NZ & Island Base Samoa Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist:

  • WINNER: Church & AP – Teeth
  • Melodownz – ‘No Mercy feat. Denzel Curry’
  • Poetik – HAMOFIED 2 EP

 Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist:

  • WINNER: Jordan Gavet – ‘Hesitation’
  • Lepani – ‘Pocket Full of Love’
  • Lou’ana – ‘Move Along’
  • Noah Slee – Twice

  Pato Entertainment Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist:

  • WINNER: Tomorrow People – ‘Fever feat. Fiji’
  • General Fiyah – ‘Its You feat. Three Houses Down’
  • Lomez Brown – ‘Tell Me’
  • Raggadat Cris – I Swear

  531pi Best Pacific Gospel Artist:

  • WINNER: Lani Alo – ‘Alo I Ou Faiva’
  • Punialava’a – Sili’aga I Fa’atufugaga, Beyond Our Stories
  • JXN – ‘Talako Dragon’

 Niu FM Best International Pacific Artist:

  • WINNER: Josh Tatofi – Ua Kui A Lawa
  • HP Boyz – ‘Engineers’
  • Kaiit – ‘Miss Shiney’

 Recorded Music NZ Best Pacific Music Album:

  • WINNER: Olivia Foa’I – Candid
  • Church & AP – Teeth

 Red Bull Best Producer

  • WINNER: Dera Meelan (Church & AP – Teeth)
  • Kings – ‘Hit That’
    • Producer: Kings
  • Mikey Mayz – ‘Wild People’
    • Producers: Tia Drumma and EDY
  • Olivia Foa’i – Candid
    • Producer: Matatia Foa’i

Phillip Fuemana Award – Most Promising Pacific Artist

  • WINNER: Victor J Sefo

 NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award

  • WINNER: Church & AP – ‘Ready or Not’

NZ On Air Streaming Award

  • WINNER: Kings – ‘6 Figures’

  SunPix People’s Choice Award – Best Pacific Artist

  • WINNER: HP Boyz

 Special Recognition Award

  • Jawsh 685

Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Daniel Rae Costello


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