Three young Whanganui musicians have been selected to compete for a national award this year.

Ngarangi Sadlier, Haley Cole and Lexus Hirst were category winners at the Muddy River Children's Country Music Awards in Whanganui on July 7.

The young performers are now eligible to compete at the NZ Country Music Entertainer of the Year Awards in Tauranga in October.

Haley Cole was first and second in the songwriting category and Josh Keating was third.


Ngarangi Sadlier was a winner and placegetter in several intermediate categories and 8-year-old Lexus Hirst cleaned up in the junior categories.

Competitors in the Muddy river Awards are aged 2 to 18, and awards are split into littlies (2-7), junior (7-13) and intermediate (13-18).

Children performed in sections such as traditional (pre-1955), gospel, female, male, open song choice, country rock and an open duet and group section.

"All the contestants sang beautifully and looked amazing," said parent and organiser Samantha Hirst.

"Elaine Holden the convener did a fantastic job again this year."

Holden initiated the Muddy River Awards five years ago and each year she mentors the young contestants in the weeks leading up to the contest.

The awards are sanctioned by the New Zealand Country Music Association and president Michael Tipping presented the prizes.

Camille Togisia won the littlies section, Rihari Tairoa-Wichman was the junior male winner, Shanika Hoeta won the junior open song category, Avallda-Marie Godinet won the junior country rock prize, Ngarangi and Terina Sadlier as Cotton Candy won the group prize and Terina also won the intermediate country rock category.

Sophie Toyne was awarded the convener's choice prize, Elizabeth Maindonald the junior encouragement award and Hailie Le Bas the intermediate encouragement prize.