The finalists for the 2017 Vodafone Pacific Music Awards were announced last night, recognising an array of talents behind a huge year for Pacific music.

18 finalists are nominated across 11 categories, with a number of new faces alongside some legends.

Breakthrough rapper Kings leads the awards with five nominations, including Pacific Urban Artist, Best Pacific Male Artist and Best Pacific Music Album for KINGS EP.

Kings is also nominated for Best Pacific Song for his hit single Don't Worry Bout It.


R'n'B singer Aaradhna is up for four awards off the back of her acclaimed album Brown Girl, including Best Pacific Female Artist and Best Pacific Music Album.

Last year's animated Disney blockbuster Moana is also being recognised for bringing Pacific music to the world stage, with its beloved soundtrack receiving several nominations.

Opetaia Foa'I is nominated for Best Pacific and Olivia Foa'I is up for two awards for Tulou Tagaloa.

Vai Mahina, Sulata Foa'i-Amiatu and Matthew Ineleo are also nominated in the SunPix Best Pacific Language Award category for An Innocent Warrior.

Other notable nominees include Three Houses Down, SWIDT, Unity Pacific and Savage.

Vodafone Pacific Music Awards Trust spokesperson the Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua says this year's nominees represent a high calibre of talent in Pacific music.

"This is the 13th year of the Vodafone Pacific Music Awards and every season brings more fresh talent and vision to our stage," he said. "The number of achievements within the Pacific music community is something we should all be proud of."

Four additional awards will also be presented at the event: the Lifetime Achievement Award, Radio Airplay Award, Most Promising Pacific Artist and the People's Choice Award.

"These awards are presented to individuals who have made a significant impact on the industry and to the lives of people around them," Strickson-Pua said. "It will be an honour to celebrate their achievements and Pacific culture at the award ceremony."

The winner of Best Pacific Music Album will also receive a Tui, and will be recognised at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards later this year.

Aaradhna famously called out the VNZMAs for racial stereotyping last year when she gave away her Tui for Best Urban/Hip-Hop artist, saying: "It feels like I've been placed in a category for brown people.

"I'm a singer, not a rapper. I'm not a hip-hop artist."