Whangarei teen thrash metal band Alien Weaponry did not expect to win at Thursday's APRA New Zealand Music Awards so hadn't prepared a speech.
But after taking out the esteemed APRA Maioha Award, drummer Lewis de Jong reckons they winged their acceptance speech well.
The honour came just days after the trio from Waipu - Henry de Jong (17) drums, brother Lewis (15) guitar/vocals and Ethan Trembath (15) bass - signed a three-year management contract to break them in Europe.
The prestigious Maioha Award, which recognises exceptional waiata featuring te reo Maori, was given for their heavy metal anthem Raupatu. The song raises awareness of land confiscations by the colonial government with a startling performance.
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Lewis said the trio were honoured, humbled and completely taken by surprise at the win.
"We really didn't expect it. We hadn't prepared a speech or anything because we weren't expecting it. We just winged the speech - I thought we did pretty well," he said.
Lewis said the award should help convince people that they were serious about their music and let people know they could be proud of their culture and heritage.
"We might have pale skin and play thrash metal, but we whakapapa back and are proud of our Maori heritage."
He said winning a national award would help with their push into Europe next year, where they already had four festival gigs lined up and were hoping to get more.
"It shows were are a serous band. We knew from an early age this is what we wanted to do [as a career] and this [win] will help us get there."
Held in Dunedin, the awards celebrate the best in NZ music. The top award - the APRA Silver Scroll Award - went to Lorde for her international hit song Green Light.