Conchords, Finn and Opshop take out Tuis

By Joanna Hunkin, Russell Baillie

The Tuis took Flight - or should that be Flight took the Tuis?- at the 2008 New Zealand Music Awards last night.

Grammy-winning musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords dominated the major categories in the Tuis at the Vector Arena - and they were reluctant winners in some.

The double act of Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, best known for their self-titled hit HBO series, had a clean sweep at the ceremony, sponsored by Vodafone, winning all three of their nominated categories - best album, best group and breakthrough act - plus sharing the award for international achievement with South Auckland hip-hop star Savage.

Clement and McKenzie weren't on hand to receive their prizes but sent pre-recorded acceptance speeches from America, where they are making a second series of the sitcom.

"We're barely even a group," said Clement on the best group prize. "Phoenix Foundation should have won this," added McKenzie, referring to the acclaimed Wellington band who went home empty-handed.

"I don't even agree with this one. That's not true. I'm not accepting that," said Clement when he and McKenzie were given the night's top award, best album.

Among other winners, Liam Finn continued to fly his family's colours, as the second Finn to win best male solo artist in as many years, following his uncle Tim's win in 2007. Finn the younger is also furthering his career stateside in the midst of a tour.

One group on hand to collect their haul was Opshop, who went home laden with gold, thanks to the commercial success of their latest album.

Second Hand Planet claimed highest-selling album, while tracks One Day won the highest-selling single and single of the year and Maybe was the radio airplay record of the year.

Trailblazing alternative rock outfit Straitjacket Fits were awarded the New Zealand Herald legacy award, becoming the fourth inductees to the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame since its establishment last year.

To close the show, the band's best-known song, She Speeds, was reinvented by "The Fast Women" - a one-off, all-female supergroup of Anika Moa, Elemeno P's Lani Purkis, Fur Patrol's Julia Deans and drummer Greta Anderson.

Earlier performances included best rock album winner Shihad, best solo female Moa and Aotearoa Roots album winner Tiki Taane, who delivered a stirring opener to the show backed by the kapa haka group Te Pou o Mangatawhiri.

- NZ Herald

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