The top three finalists shortlisted for the prestigious Apra Maioha Award to be presented at the 2018 Apra Silver Scroll Awards come from Rotorua or are descended from Te Arawa.

The Apra Maioha Award recognises the art of contemporary Māori songwriting and honours composers who are telling their stories in the language of Te Ao Māori.

The finalists are Seth Haapu, Ria Hall and Rob Ruha. Ruha and Haapu both come from Rotorua and Hall is descended from Te Arawa.

Ngaru Hōu

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by first time finalist Seth Haapu is a te reo version of his song

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(translated by Mataia Keepa), which was also in the Silver Scroll Award top 20 shortlist. A romantic ballad about revealing and challenging power of love, it resembles a karakia, and is Haapu's expression of thanks for all that he's been given, and all that is to come, good and bad.

Powerful, vibrant, electronic roots artist Ria Hall is also a first time finalist for Te Ahi Kai Pō, alongside co-writers Tiki Taane (who was previously a Maioha Award finalist in 2011) and Te Ori Paki. The song is from her recent album Rules of Engagement, which draws on themes of love and war, revolution and change, and is a lament and tribute to those who have been lost along the way but continue to provide inspiration.

Conversely Rob Ruha is no stranger to the Maioha Award – he won in 2014 and 2016, and this year is a finalist for his gentle yet stirring song about mana written for King Tūheitia, Uia. A different song also written by Rob titled Kalega, was included in the Silver Scroll Award top 20 shortlist.

The finalists for the Sounz Contemporary Award and Apra Screen Awards were announced last week, and the finalists for the Apra Silver Scroll Award will be announced on Thursday August 30.

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All awards will be presented during a ceremony at Spark Arena in Auckland on Thursday October 4. As a part of the celebrations, Apra will also be inducting a songwriter/s into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

The finalists in the Apra Maioha Award and their songs
Ngaru Hōu by Seth Haapu
Te Ahi Kai Pō by Ria Hall, Tiki Taane, and Te Ori Paki
Uia by Rob Ruha