The spotlight was shining on Maisey Rika and Troy Kingi at the 10th annual Waiata Maori Music Awards held in Hastings last night.
Singer songwriter Maisey Rika dominated the night with four wins, taking out the Best Traditional Maori Album, Best Maori Female Solo Artist, Best Song by a Maori Artist and Best Maori Songwriter awards.
Musician Troy Kingi was awarded the Best Maori Pop Artist and Best Maori Male Solo Artist awards.
Rika, the Waiata Maori Music ambassador, said the awards were an awesome platform for any artist who loved and respected Maori language and culture.
"I believe the Waiata Maori Awards is a great kaupapa for our cultural identity, as Maori singing in Maori from a Maori perspective makes us unique to the rest of the world.
"It is our very own special point of difference naturally ingrained into our DNA and strongly influenced by our taiao, taha hinengaro, wairua, tinana."
Established by the late composer and teacher Tama Huata in 2007, the Waiata Maori Music Awards produce an annual gala awards ceremony that focuses on the diversity and excellence of Maori music in Aotearoa.
The awards are open to all Maori music industry professionals and secretly judged by active members of the industry.
Last night musicians strutted their stuff on the red carpet in the early evening before the official ceremony kicked off at 7.30pm at Club Hastings.
Singer songwriter Amba Holly, who claimed Best Female Solo Artist last year, took out the Radio Airplay Song of the Year in Te Reo Māori award with her track Mau Tonu, while Six 60 was named the winner of the Radio Airplay Song of the Year for Mother's Eyes.
Other winners included Stan Walker who took out Best Video of the Year for New Takeover, Wellington hip-hop artist Rei (Callum Rei McDougall) who was named Best Maori Urban Artist and Israel Starr who won the Best Roots Reggae award.
Kaaterama Pou, singer and member of the Maimoa Music collective, was named Emerging Artist in the Under 25 category while Ohakune-based roots and reggae band Common Unity were won the Over 25 category.
Organiser Ellison Huata, Mr Huata's daughter, was enthused about the talent on show at this year's awards.
"The calibre of the finalists in our 10th anniversary year is a great testament to the quality and diversity of Maori composers, musicians and performers that we have in Aotearoa."
Rika said she felt "at home" at the annual awards ceremony because of the wairua [spirit] in the room.
"I will always be here for kaupapa such as the Waiata Maori Awards. I feel at home here, not necessarily because of the awards but because of the wairua in the room."