BOP Veteran wins Maori Music award

Bunny was born and raised in Katikati in the Bay of Plenty and his first single, Just Out of Reachwas released in 1969. Photo: Lawrence Smith/Fairfax NZ.

Celebrated 1970s singer Bunny Tekokiri Miha Wahi Walters will receive the Music Industry Award at the upcoming 10th annual Waiata Māori Music Awards in Hastings next Friday, September 15. 

Bunny (Ngai Te Rangi) was born and raised in Katikati in the Bay of Plenty and his first single, Just Out of Reach was released in 1969. 

Three years later his single Brandy, featuring the Yandell sisters, was released. The song reached number four on the New Zealand pop charts, while another of Walters’ songs, Take the Money, reached number two. 

Walters was inspired by the artists of his day including The Drifters and Tom Jones and is remembered by those who loved his timeless music, as well as artists with whom he performed and influenced during his time. Walters passed away in December last year. 

A further two iconic Maori artists will also be honoured posthumously at the ceremony including Tainui waka performing arts stalwart Kiritokia e-te Tomairangi Adrianne Gail Paki who is this year’s recipient of the Keeper of Tradition Award. 

Kiritokia, who is the sister of the Maori king, died in April of this year. In 2016 she was made a life member of the Tainui Cultural Trust for her contribution to kapa haka over four decades performing and tutoring Taniwharau. 

Canon Wiremu Te Tau Huata (CBE, QSO, MC) will also be award Music Composer’s Award on his behalf at Friday’s Awards ceremony. His whanau will accept the award on his behalf. 

Canon (Ngati Kahungungu) was a New Zealand Anglican priest and military chaplain. Encouraged by Sir Apirana Ngata, Canon enlisted and served in WWII as part of the 28th New Zealand (Maori) Battalion. 

As a returned serviceman he composed many songs that have become Maori anthems, most notably his rendition of How Great Thou Art into Whakaaria mai

Other songs he is famous for include Tutira Mai Nga Iwi, Pa Mai and A.E.I.O.U. In 2016, Whakaaria Mai, a special 60-minute stage production based on Huata’s life was staged in New Zealand. Huata passed away in 1991. 

The iconic award recipients are selected by a special awards committee. All other awards categories are judged separately. 

The 2017 Waiata Maori Music Awards finalists are: 

Best Maori Traditional Album 

Grove Roots, Grove Roots

Auaha, Auaha

Tira, Maisey Rika 

Best Maori Urban Rap/Hip Hop/RnB Album 

Me, My Selfie & Ice Pro, Taipari Waaka

A Place to Stand, Rei

4108sis, Rugged and Wylde

AvonTales, Melodownz 

Best Maori Urban Roots/Reggae Album 

Grove Roots, Grove Roots

Dance Hall Vol 1, Israel Starr

Love not War, NLC 

Best Maori Pop Album 

Guitar Party at Uncle’s Bach, Troy Kingi

Written in the Stars, Maaka Fiso

Tira, Maisey Rika 

Best Maori Male Solo Artist

Troy Kingi

Maaka Fiso


Seth Haapu 

Best Maori Female Solo Artist 

Toni Huata

Pianika Duncan

Maisey Rika 

Best Song by a Maori Artist 

Written in the Stars, Maaka Fiso

Never Be Apart, Teeks

Te Kura, Grove Roots

Mohaka, Toni Huata

Taku Mana, Maisey Rika 

Best Maori Songwriter 

Maaka Fiso


Grove Roots

Toni Huata

Maisey Rika 

Best Video by a Maori Artist 

Lost Soul, Vallkyrie

Ru ana te Whenua, Alien Weaponry

New Take Over, Stan Walker

If Only, Teeks

Wairua, Maimoa


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