Hall of Fame recognition for veteran Kiwi reggae stars

By Lydia Jenkin

One of New Zealand's best-known bands, Herbs, was last night inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame in a ceremony recognising their decades of performing and their contribution to New Zealand's musical history.

Several hundred musicians and music industry members were in the audience at the Auckland Town Hall for the induction, part of the APRA Silver Scroll Awards.

Several industry commentators and fellow musicians paid tribute to Herbs via video link, commending them as New Zealand's first political band, blending strong and sometimes controversial messages with their Pacific reggae style.

Formed in the late 1970s, the band went through multiple incarnations over the years, and had a reputation for tension between members.

But 14 of the 17 musicians in the Herbs family tree were present to accept the award, which was presented by Che Fu, who remembered the group as being like "uncles".

The audience gave huge applause as Willie Hona led the reunited members in an unaccompanied version of E Papa.

The top New Zealand songwriting prize, the Apra Silver Scroll, went to Stephanie Brown, aka Lips, for her sultry, electronic-inflected R&B song Everything to Me.

The scroll winner is decided in a vote by Apra's 8000 songwriter members.

As she accepted the award, Brown - who was visibly choked up - acknowledged the talents of the other four finalists, Opossom, Lydia Cole, Annah Mac, and The Eastern.

- NZ Herald

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