A Kiwi reggae group have scored a "win for the underdogs" after turning a harsh criticism into a number one album.

Kiwi favourites Tomorrow People released their latest EP BBQ Reggae and debuted at number one in the Official NZ Music Charts last week.

The EP's title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to an article by a writer who referred to the group's music as "BBQ reggae" in a negative way.

But one of the group's founding members, Tana Tupai says they weren't phased by the critique at all - that's why they've chosen to embrace it now.


"We found it quite hilarious that [the writer] actually took the time of day. And that he took such a positive phrase and turned it into what it was. I mean, everyone in New Zealand loves barbecues and a lot of people love reggae as well, so I couldn't see any way he could've spun that in the way he did," says Tupai.

"We wanted to keep it a positive because that's how we've always seen it; it suits what we do. Our music just kind of personifies what a Kiwi summer is, we're just pretty stoked that we get to celebrate that and wave the flag for our genre.

"And now it's the title of the number one album in the country. It's funny how things happen, eh?"

The eight-track EP includes the lead single Lock Me Up, and their current hit Don't Wanna Fight It, which went viral after the group released it in three different languages; English, te reo Maori and Samoan.

Their aim was to represent the different cultures within their group but also within their fanbase. Tupai says the response from their fans online has been "pretty out of this world" and the group hopes to do more multilingual work in future off the back of the song's success.

Until then, they're taking a moment to be thankful for their latest achievement.

"We're still on cloud nine because it's not something that happens every day for us. It's a huge privilege ... we know it's not an easy feat," says Tupai.

"[Reggae] is viewed as a minority genre, so for us it's sort of like a win for the underdog, so to speak. It's something that we're proud to represent."