Lovers of country music will be in for treat when local club Pounamu holds its annual awards in Levin next weekend.
Performing live as special guests will be two acts that won their respective awards the New Zealand Entertainer of the Year at Taupō last month when representing the Pounamu club.
Cora Irving won the veteran entertainer section and Nia Nia Whanau won the overall award at the Taupō competition.
While Irving was from Te Teko, and the Nia Nia Whanau were from Gisborne, they won entry to the Taupō competition by virtue of winning the Levin competition last year.
Pounamu Club founder Teresa Herewini said the annual Pounamu awards was an exciting time for the club as it put together some amazing performers for a weekend of music.
Entries came from all over New Zealand and took their turn to perform with a live band over the course of the weekend, and tickets to the event were selling out fast.
"It's amazing. There is so much talent," she said.
Pounamu Country Music Club Inc was Levin's best kept secret. Formed in 2004, founders Geoff and Teresa Herewini did the club proud with a second placing at the New Zealand Entertainer of The Year Awards in 2015 as a duo.
Two years later they returned and placed first. The following year club member Ainsley Allen won Entertainer of the Year, while last year Roimata Neilson from the Delta club in Foxton represented the club with distinction.
The Herewinis were keen to impress that the club was all about promoting talent and giving people - young and old- a chance to perform and become involved in an encouraging environment.
"There are so many talented kids out there and music can give them a sense of pride and open up so many opportunities. There seems to be a lot of funding for kids once they get into trouble – our focus is on helping them before they get into trouble," he said.
"We'd love for more young kids to be involved."
New members were always welcome and they said they would love younger performers to join the club to keep the future of country music alive.
The Herewinis started the club with the vision to promote and encourage music and to give all ethnic groups and people of all ages the opportunity to enjoy music together.
The club motto was "E hara takutoa i te toa takitahi, engari takutoa he toa takitini", which translated to "my strength is not of mine alone, but the strength of many others".
Herewini said the vision to was to "foster, promote, encourage, and enhance the citizens of our community, and the wellbeing between the youth and the elderly together under the banner of music, dance and choreography.
"The club is there for our members young and old to enjoy - without them we do not function," he said.
Their goals were to teach music composition, instrumental proficiency, voice control and choreography.
Through the year the club met on the first Saturday of every month at Levin RSA and regularly got as many as 150 people turning up, sometimes more. For a time numbers swelled to more than 250.
Meanwhile, the awards next weekend at Levin Cosmopolitan Club would see top locals vying with the usual strong contingent of outside entries at the local competition, joining guest artists for what would be a weekend of top-class country music.
Registrations begin on Friday, November 6, and auditions start the following morning at 8am, with the main performances taking place from 7pm that night.
The finals start at 10am on Sunday, November 8.