Ka Hao cruises down the highway to Aotearoa Music Awards

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Yesterday the Aotearoa Music Awards | Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa announced its 2022 finalists, one of which has seen its viral waiata receive credit where it is due.

The youth choir Ka Hao first graced Kiwi ears with their waiata 35, showing us around its home town in Tūranganui–a-Kiwa, along with the area's pāua pies, pristine beaches and horseback riding.

That same waiata reached superstardom on social media as the viral base song on many TikTok videos. One year since its release, love for the waiata from people all over the world has been reflected in the group’s nominations at the AMAs.


35 (minus 30) = five AMA nominations for the rangatahi choir.

Under the mentorship of muso Rob Ruha (Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Porou) the tira waiata has been nominated for five categories. That includes Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau for single of the year and Te Māngai Pāho Mana Reo for 35 (featuring Rob Ruha), as well as Te Rōpu Toa for best group, Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa for best roots artist, and Te Māngai Pāho Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa for best Māori artist for its debut album Ka Hao: One.

Ka Hao member Kaea Hills (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Porou) says to see where they have been taken to in the music world, and working with Uncle Rob Ruha, is a big thing for the rōpū rangatahi from the coast.

“To be nominated alongside Uncle, and then to have our own nominations also, it's just amazing.”

Ruha is nominated in six categories, becoming the frontrunner for this year’s edition of the awards. They include the Recorded Music NZ Te Pukaemi o te Tau | album of the year for his third album Preservation of Scenery, Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | single of the year for That’s Where I’ll Be, Te Kaipuoro Takitahi Toa | best solo artist, Te Māngai Pāho Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa | best Māori artist, Te Kaipuoro Awe Toa | best soul/RnB Artist, and Te Māngai Pāho Mana Reo award.