Kerikeri dairy farmer turned rock musician Merv Pinny has won awards for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Video at a music event in the US.

The Akademia Music Awards were presented at a gala in Los Angeles on April 20 with Mr Pinny nominated by a radio DJ in Seattle on the strength of OB can you hear the children cry?, a song which has received wide airplay in the US about war in the Middle East and the resulting refugee crisis.

Mr Pinny, who was Northland's biggest dairy farmer until he sold up last year, said the awards had been a great opportunity to meet other songwriters and musicians from around the world. It had also opened doors with media and radio.

New Zealand music already had a strong presence in California with The Broods and Lorde in the line-up for this year's Coachella music festival, he said.

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Mr Pinny said the recently released follow-up to OB, Wipe Out, had been well received so far.

The video was based on a true story as told to him by a refugee who made contact after hearing OB. Mr Pinny said he had tried to capture the refugee's frustration and torment, and would donate the profits to World Vision's Children in Crisis.

Mr Pinny had some success in the New Zealand rock music scene in the 1990s but has been able to dedicate more time to songwriting and recording since selling his farms.

The Akademia Music Awards aim to promote lesser-known artists and give them "a higher degree of market exposure and professional recognition for their work ... to take them from relative obscurity to commercial success".