Wanted: Male model for album cover. Ideally Maori, aged 40-60, the darker the better. Must have good smile. Missing teeth no problem. Keen for a beer or two and preferably from the Far North. Call Troy asap to arrange a photo session.

Okay, that's not a real "wanted" ad, but it sums up what popular Kerikeri singer/songwriter Troy Kingi is looking for to add the final touches to his debut album. The Kerikeri musician and actor resorted to Facebook last month to find the ideal "older Maori gentleman" to pose for the cover of the album Guitar Party at Uncle's Bach.

He thought his unusual model search might get a bit of attention but he didn't expect to be inundated with 300 nominations, complete with photos, of people's uncles, dads and koro from every corner of Aotearoa.

It took him a week but he eventually narrowed the entries down to a shortlist of uncles he described as "some of the smoothest Maori men my eyes have ever seen".


The winner will be revealed in due course, once he is ready to release the album.

When he was still on his quest Mr Kingi wrote on his Facebook page: "This album is my baby so I'm trying to scour the deepest corners, the secret nooks and untouched crannies of this rugged terrain to find that hidden diamond. I can't do it without your help."