Cows are supposed to enjoy music while they're being milked, but Merv Pinny's herd probably weren't aware that they had a star in their midst.

The Kerikeri dairy farmer turned rock musician has won awards for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Video at the Akademia Music Awards, that were presented at a gala event in Los Angeles last month.

Listen to the official video below:

Merv was nominated by a radio DJ in Seattle, on the strength of OB Can you hear the children cry?, a song that has received wide airplay in the US, about war in the Middle East and the resulting refugee crisis.

Northland's biggest dairy farmer, until he sold up last year, said the awards had been a great opportunity to meet other songwriters and musicians from around the world.
The awards success and exposure had also opened doors with media and radio.


New Zealand music already had a strong presence in California, with The Broods and Lorde in the line-up for this year's Coachella music festival, he said, adding that the recently released follow-up to OB, Wipe Out, had been well received so far.

See Merv Pinny's latest single Wipe Out.

The video was based on a true story, as told to him by a refugee who made contact after hearing OB. Merv said he had tried to capture the refugee's frustration and torment, and would donate the profits to World Vision's Children in Crisis.

He had enjoyed some success in the New Zealand rock music scene in the 1990s, he added, but had been able to dedicate more time to writing and recording since selling his farms.

The Akademia Music Awards are aimed at promoting lesser-known artists, giving them "a higher degree of market exposure and professional recognition for their work ... to take them from relative obscurity to commercial success."