New Zealand Music Month (NZMM) has officially kicked off today and is known as a time to support Kiwi artists and their music efforts. This year, a number of Māori artists in Perth, Western Australia are coming together to celebrate NZMM with a special event tonight, despite being away from their homeland.
15 years on, NZMM has gone from a period of encouraging radio to play more local tunes, to a full month celebration of homegrown music. Its importance to current, new and aspiring Kiwi music artists has become more evident over the years.
Tonight, JeriCo Records in association with Tu Promotions, are hosting the first Australia-based NZMM event which has been endorsed by NZMM Manager, Simon Woods.
Perth event organiser, Erica Uangakore (Te Rarawa) says, "What we're trying to do is bridge Kiwi music and musicians in Perth with Aotearoa. There has been a gap for a while so it's time to bring it altogether."
Promoting Māori artists living in Perth, and bringing artists in from Aotearoa has been an exciting project. Uangakore says while there is a demand for more local Māori music to cater to the masses in Australia, there's a greater need for recognition in the mainstream music scene." That there is a lot of Māori talent in Perth waiting to be heard in Australia, and back home in Aotearoa.
Artists performing tonight and throughout the month of May in Perth include Majic Paora, Sons of Zions, Brisbane-based reggae band Paua, Perth-based artists Jordan H and Ihaka, and more.
Uangakore says the long-term goal is to tour her Perth-based artists and bands back in Aotearoa. "All of our local artists come from various backgrounds, from building careers to a stay-at-home mum and more. The majority of us here in Perth have day jobs as well as trying to pursue our music."
For more information on tonight's event and NZMM updates in Perth, click here.