The Sunday Series: the 11th Taite Music Prize


“Named after the late Dylan Taite, one of New Zealand’s most respected music journalists, the award recognises outstanding creativity for an entire collection of music contained on one recording. The prize winner will receive a cash prize of NZ$12,500 to be spent as they wish, thanks to Taite Music Prize founding partner Recorded Music NZ; recording time at Red Bull Studios Auckland; and a year’s supply of Red Bull product.” (1)

“Alongside the main prize, three additional awards will be presented at the ceremony: the Independent Music NZ Classic Record Award; the newly created Independent Spirit Award, awarded to a New Zealand person who assists our NZ musicians to grow and find their own unique pathways; and the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut Award, celebrating the freshest talent of Aotearoa. The winner receives a $2,000 cash prize and a live performance opportunity with thanks to Auckland Live.” (1)

“This year’s ten finalists, from a list of 54 nominations submitted by record labels both independent and major from across the country, are:

Aldous Harding – Designer (Flying Nun Records/4AD),
Beastwars – IV (Destroy Records),
JessB – New Views (JessB/The Orchard),
L.A.B. – L.A.B. III (Loop Recordings Aot(ear)oa),
Lawrence Arabia – Lawrence Arabia’s Singles Club (Honorary Bedouin Records),
Louis Baker – Open (Louis Baker Music/Ditto Music),
Mermaidens – Look Me In The Eye (Flying Nun Records),
Miss June – Bad Luck Party (Miss June/Frenchkiss Records/The Orchard),
Tiny Ruins – Olympic Girls (Ursa Minor),
Troy Kingi – Holy Colony Burning Acres (Triple A Records),

The three finalists for the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut are:

Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie – Roto (Jazzscore),
Repulsive Woman – Relief (Independent) ,
Mousey – Lemon Law (Independent),”  (1)

The Winner of the major Taite Music Prize 2020 was Troy Kingi.  In New Zealand we have recently commemorated ANZAC Day and more recently VE Day so the first sounds we’re sharing are “Lest We Forget”

Kingi’s website says:   “Troy Kingi released his debut solo album “Guitar Party At Uncles Bach” in 2016. Recorded in Lyttleton by engineer Ben Edwards, the whole vibe was to record the album live circa Motown/Beatles .

“Sequencing tracks, cutting and pasting these perfect drum loops, cleaning up our recorded imperfections, I feel you lose the human element of the song, you lose the vibe and feel that used to be so strong in 70s soul music” Troy Kingi

The Kerikeri-based actor and musician wears a lot of hats, he’s acted in roles such as TK in Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople, and won the APRA Silver Scroll Maioha Award in 2015 for his song with Stan Walker ‘Aotearoa’. Kingi has now unveiled his sophomore album Shake That Skinny Ass All The Way To Zygertron, a sprawling sci-fi soul odyssey inspired by interstellar love, mystic prophesy, and 70s cosmic funk artists Funkadelic. Recorded with his band including fellow vintage synth enthusiast Ed Zuccollo (Trinity Roots), and Mara TK (Electric Wire Hustle). Here’s some words on his ideas behind the new record…

“A big inspiration during the writing process was Shuggie Otis’s ‘Inspiration Information’ album from 1974. Just the overall aesthetic of the album – warm, real pleasing to the ear but weird at the same time. This album ‘ Shake That Skinny Ass All The Way To Zygertron’ is a fictional account of two people from different times & dimensions meeting in the cosmos – falling in love and having a child with golden feet – fulfilling an ancient prophesy written in the hieroglyphics of the coming of the messiah…”(2)

And from the 2019 Vodafone NZ Music Awards

Best Independent Debut:  Millie Lovelock, Repulsive Woman: Relief

More information:

Murray Cammick is the 2020 Independent Spirit Award.  Muilti-dimensional talent.  I went up to Auckland to see his photos at Black Asterisk. Here’s the artist’s statement from their site”

“Murray Cammick

Murray Cammick: Suzanne, Shoana and beer cans, Auckland University 1978.
Murray Cammick: 1957 Chevrolet BR6082 arrow.

Cammick studied photography at Elam School of Fine Arts 1973 to 1975 with lecturers John B. Turner and Tom Hutchins who encouraged him to take socio-political photos for the student newspaper Craccum. Through his love for soul music and Americana, Cammick was drawn to a nocturnal and youthful urban demimonde of Auckland’s Queen Street. Between 1974-1981, he documented an early manifestation of boy racer culture: the young men (and a few women), mainly out of West Auckland, who paraded their restored classic American V8 cars up Queen Street on a Saturday night, and the entourages that followed them. These shots contributed to the series Flash Cars, which Murray showed at Black Asterisk in 2016

While he documented the V8s, his mode of transport was a diminutive Morris Minor that he hid in a side street. Cammick was a shy and naïve 20 year old when he started this series and revellers would see his SLR camera and hassle him to – “take our photo!” – unaware that they were giving the quiet photographer the opportunity (and images) he was looking for.

When Cammick co-founded the seminal music magazine RipItUp in 1977, he was not aware of how radical the changes in New Zealand music culture would over the next decade. Foreign punk/new wave acts like The Ramones, Iggy Pop and Blondie visited and locals like The Suburban Reptiles, The Scavengers and Toy Love put visceral energy into the scene. In a time of cultural change, Cammick documented important cultural events such as Bob Marley’s 1979 visit to New Zealand and suburban cultural events like The Screaming Meemees playing in a packed suburban hall. Seedy local venues were the place to worship raw music and Zwines and Mainstreet were where alienated youth gathered to enjoy the company of kindred-souls. Cammick’s camera captures the tribal audience and sweaty musicians who commanded the scene. His showAK•75-85 (2017) shone a light on a seminal ten years of popular cultural history – while our music scene was growing up in the backyard of Muldoon, the Springbok tour and much other political tumult, New Zealand was becoming firmly established on the international touring map.

Reflecting on his work for the Capture blog, Cammick wrote:

“I tried to document the music and the scene as a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentary photographer. You either contribute to the myths/bullshit of rock n roll or you try and show some of the reality of the grind of touring and promotion…. Shooting un-rock ‘n’ roll photos became something to aspire to, so I was pleased to get Iggy Pop in his clunky reading glasses laughing … I sneaked a shot but he heard the camera and made it clear, “No photos in my pyjamas.””

When he ended his involvement with RipItUp magazine in 1998, he set out to do a series of photographic exhibitions but was thwarted by the digital takeover of photography and the realisation that key images from his Flash Cars series were missing – last seen in the 1980s. In mid-2014, the missing negatives were found, allowing a comprehensive exhibition to be undertaken.

Another series of images appeared out of the same negatives of the V8 series, Queens Street. The images are of drag queens and their friends in Queen St, circa 1975. The photographer met Keri and Violet Pratt and friends, on their nightly walk from a Customs St cafe to Mojo’s nightclub, opposite the Town Hall.

After each curb side encounter, Cammick would print up postcard-size prints and mail them to Keri and Violet’s home address in Glen Innes. They liked the results and on their next photo-stop, they would once again pose like fashion models with Cammick as their David Bailey.

“Some nights the city was buy and the girls were as high as kites,” recalls Cammick. “To avoid making a scene we’d disappear down a more private arcade or lane to take photos. One impressed onlooker, a US Marine asking me: ‘Where do you get these girls?’ I don’t think I replied. Keri, Violet and I left him standing there, as we headed in different directions.”

“In the late 70s there was a mix of subcultures in inner city Auckland. I recall having to run the gauntlet, past Babe’s disco to get to the punk club Zwines in Durham Lane and teen punks have claimed they were harassed by V8 guys. For young guys in drag, some nights, Queen Street must have been like running the gauntlet.”

Sadly, one of Cammick’s Queen Street photos of Violet appeared in the Sunday News (27 July 1980) under the heading: “Violet Should Not have Died.”

She had died after being arrested at a nightclub for “not being able to walk without assistance.” Violet died from a drug overdose, when left unattended and semi-conscious in the charging room at Auckland Central Police station. She was 27 and the Sunday News wrote, “Violet had been a transvestite for 11 years and was the most beautiful ‘queen’ in Auckland her friends say.”

Cammick’s portraits of Violet and Keri documented the good times. The photographer is unapologetic: “I am pleased that I captured their dream of being fabulous models. Their beauty was a street reality.”

Cammick’s photographs are part of the Te Papa Collection and his work appeared in their 2009 publication, “Art at Te Papa.”

The Sunday Series featured Shona Laing  IMNZ Classic Record award recipient in mid-April.   The Spinoff says ” Graham Reid (esteemed journalist and founder of presented the Independent Music NZ Classic Record, an award that celebrates an iconic New Zealand record that continues to inspire us today. This year’s panel gave praise to Shona Laing’s synth-soaked album South released in 1987 on Pagan Records (NZ). South marked a significant shift in Shona’s career where synth-pop suddenly took the reins, her insightful lyrics, both poetic and political, remained. Following South, Shona toured internationally, produced five more albums, received two APRA Silver Scroll awards and was inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame in 2013! Upon receiving the Classic Record award Shona expressed her joy in saying “It’s blissful. It’s the sweetest award I think I’ve ever had.” “(4)

This article has been compiled for YouTube videos and information and articles online.  ARTbop salutes the 2020 Taite Music Prize recipients.

Rosemary Balu.Rosemary Balu is the founding and current Managing Editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.


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