She's a little bit country ... and a whole lot of a star!
Shamika Hoeta is only 12 years old, but she may just be the next big thing in country music after coming home from the Muddy River Country Music Awards with a collection of trophies.
Entered in the Junior Section, which covers ages seven to 13, Shamika won Best Junior Female Soloist, Best Junior Country Rock and Best Junior Gospel, as well as placing second in the Traditional section.
The awards are run annually specifically for musicians under 18 and this was Shamika's second year entering.
Shamika says she enjoys listening to all types of music at home, but since entering the Muddy River Country Music Awards last year has discovered a love of country and gospel.
"I like the songs. They tell a story and the words have lots of meaning."
When Shamika entered the competition last year, it was just two weeks after she had sung on a stage for the first time.
"Last year's competition taught me a lot and I used all I had learned when singing this year."
One thing Shamika has learned is the importance of practising.
"This year I went to three practices before the competition, and while it meant giving up time with my friends and travelling to Whanganui lots it was worth it as I learned a lot."
The practice sessions, run by the competition organiser Elaine Holden, helped Shamika with all aspects of the competition she says.
"I definitely took a lot of Elaine's advice and acted on it."
Shamika says she is still learning every day and plans to enter again next year.
"One thing I was disappointed in this year was my Traditional section entry.
"While I did still come second, I feel I could have won it had I not lost my composure at the start of the song."
Shamika says the song, There's a Bridle hanging on the Wall is one she knows well, but as she started to sing she made the mistake of looking into the audience.
"I saw one of the other competitors pulling faces at me, and it distracted me."
While she only stumbled for a couple of seconds, Shamika says she thinks it was enough to cost her first place.
When it came to the Gospel section, Shamika didn't have any problems however.
"As soon as she started singing, I was sure she was going to win the section," says her mum Maree Wheeler, who was proven right with the judges raving about Shamika's performance of One Day at a Time.
Maree, who herself has won country music competitions, says Shamika only recently got into singing country music, "mainly because she was seeing me enjoy it and have fun singing".
When asked who her favourite country music singer is, Shamika doesn't have to think hard at all.
"My mum. She is the best singer."
Shamika says coming home with plenty of trophies is certainly rewarding, but the real fun of the competition is in making new friends.
"I have met lots of people, of all ages, and made some really good friends."
She has also gained in confidence, says Maree, thanks in part to a report card from the judges containing comments such as "You look and sound like a star".