A soul singer from Kerikeri and a teenage thrash metal band from Waipu have walked away from the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards with trophies in hand.

Troy Kingi won Te Māngai Pāho Best Māori Artist and Best Soul/R&B Artist at the event held at Spark Arena on Thursday, while thrash metal band Alien Weaponry opened the ceremony with a high energy performance of their song Kai Tangata and later won the Tui for Best Rock Artist.

Kingi said he thought he had a chance at winning the Best Soul/R&B Artist award, but winning Te Māngai Pāho Best Māori Artist surprised him.

"I've been watching these awards for a long time so it was cool it actually be part of it. I had an inkling that maybe I had a chance on one of them but to come away with two of them was mind boggling," he said.

Advertisement
Troy Kingi receiving one of his awards at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. Photo/TOPIC - Charl Louw
Troy Kingi receiving one of his awards at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. Photo/TOPIC - Charl Louw

Kingi was up against Katchafire and Alien Weaponry in the Best Māori Artist category.

"Everyone knows Katchafire, and Alien Weaponry have been getting some good press - they've blown up in the media. No one's really been talking about Troy Kingi so I was sitting in the shadows and then I swooped in out of no where."

Kingi's win comes after last year's release of his psychedelic soul album Shake That Skinny Ass All the Way to Zygertron.

Fans can expect a new album from him next year.

"I'm 75 per cent through my next album. I keep saying I'm wanting it to drop on Waitangi Day because it's quite a political one. It talks about indigenous matters, not just Māori but all our brothers and sisters around the world, so Waitangi Day would be fitting but it's looking more like the start of March," he said,

Alien Weaponry drummer Henry de Jong during the band's opening performance. Photo/TOPIC - Charl Louw
Alien Weaponry drummer Henry de Jong during the band's opening performance. Photo/TOPIC - Charl Louw

Meanwhile, Alien Weaponry - made up of brothers Henry and Lewis de Jong and friend Ethan Trembath from Waipu - said opening the awards ceremony was amazing.

"It was an awesome feeling actually kicking it all off and seeing everyone instantly perk up when they heard that pūtātara (a shell trumpet)," Henry said.

"It was also such an incredible experience to finally be up on that stage playing in front of the whole country," Ethan added.

Alien Weaponry's Ethan Trembath during the band's opening performance. Photo/TOPIC - Charl Louw
Alien Weaponry's Ethan Trembath during the band's opening performance. Photo/TOPIC - Charl Louw

Lewis said when the group formed Alien Weaponry, they never imagined getting as far as they have.

"Winning a Tui feels like a real milestone in our career and I'm stoked to have won this award and be recognised for something that we have worked so hard on," he said.

Alien Weaponry's Henry de Jong, Lewis de Jong, and Ethan Trembath receiving their Tui for Best Rock Artist. Photo/ TOPIC - Charl Louw
Alien Weaponry's Henry de Jong, Lewis de Jong, and Ethan Trembath receiving their Tui for Best Rock Artist. Photo/ TOPIC - Charl Louw

Simon Gooding, Tom Larkin and the boys' dad and manager Niel de Jong aka Hammerhead won Best Producer for Alien Weaponry's album Tū.