At this year's 2023 Children’s Music Awards, Ngā Manu Tīrairaka, all three nominees for this year’s APRA Best Children’s Song, Te Korokoro Tūī, had whakapapa Māori.
The awards were held at a special family-friendly event at The Turning Fork, Spark Arena, hosted by children’s entertainer Suzy Cato.
The first nominee, who goes by the name of 'Miss Nicky Says', and creates content for tamariki utilising Te Reo Māori on YouTube was Nicolla Morehouse (Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Toa Rangatira).
"My mahi is I'm a YouTuber and the name of my show is Miss Nicky Says and I create content for tamariki and, as best as I can, I try to promote our beautiful reo so I write songs and try to encourage people to embrace our reo and I try to celebrate wherever we are in our reo journey … kei te pai be brave. It's okay to make mistakes but that's my kaupapa and my mahi anyway," Morehouse says.
Charles and Emily Look (Ngāpuhi, Te Waiohua, Te Atiawa) were also a nominee for their waiata, Kia Mau.
“We wrote it during Covid-19 days but it was when the mandate was going around and there were just a lot of different opinions people had and it just got us reflecting on who we are as humans and how everyone can have their own opinions,” Emily Look says.
“As for those who are raukura (graduates) of Kura Kaupapa Māori or currently involved, there’s actually one of the mātāpono (principles) in there. That was a big influence about what the song was about during that time,” Charles Look says.
But the winner of the APRA Best Children’s Song, Te Korokoro Tūī was Jaya Rees (Ngāti Raukawa, Te Arawa) who has been singing since she was seven years old and mentored by her aunty a music artist and musical theatre performer, Lavina Williams.
"The name of my waiata is Aotearoa Sun and it's about being with your whānau at any season and it's just like hanging with your whānau, spending time with your whānau no matter who it is," Rees says.
“Mark Casey and I wrote this song a few years back, we’re talking 10, 15 years back and we’ve just revived it,” Williams says.
“It was a no-brainer. We were thinking who would be the best person to sing this song and then I’m like 'my niece Jaya, her voice is amazing, why don’t we chuck her on there and we’ll just see if it fits' and it was perfect.”
Rees says she is looking forward to performing new waiata during Matariki this year.