Rob Ruha wins APRA Maioha Award

By Jessica Tyson

Rob Ruha has won the APRA Maioha Award at the 2020 Silver Scroll Awards in Tāmaki Makaurau for his waiata Ka Mānu.

The award recognises exceptional waiata featuring te reo Māori, and Ruha was celebrated for Ka Mānu, performed alongside Bella Kalolo, Maisey Rika, Majic, Ria Hall, Seth Haapu, Troy Kingi, and The Witch Dr.

This year is Ruha's third time winning the Maioha Award, after previously winning for his song Tiki Tapu in 2014, and again in 2016 for KaririKa Mānu was written by Ruha, of Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Rongowhakaata, Tainui, Te Arawa, Ngā Ariki-kaipūtah and Ngāpuhi, in response to the Ihumātao dispute, speaking of unity and peaceful resistance, and highlighting issues of oppression for indigenous people around the world.

In continuing the theme of unity, the song brings together musicians from across Aotearoa for a stirring performance full of aroha and hope.

This year the Maioha Award was presented by Hinewehi Mohi in a special online broadcast of the Silver Scroll Awards that included a performance of Ka Mānu by Te Whanganui-a-Tara reggae supergroup Tomorrow People, filmed and recorded live at Massey Studio.

The other two finalists for the award this year were Seth Haapu for his powerful ballad Ūkaipō and Maori music collective Maimoa for their pop waiata Whāia.

This is the 18th year in which the APRA Maioha Award has been presented, with artists such as Ruia Aperahama, Ngahiwi Apanui, Whirimako Black, Maisey Rika, Stan Walker, Troy Kingi, and Alien Weaponry all having received the Te Ngore - the Maioha award sculpture carved by Brian Flintoff.

The winner of the 2020 APRA Silver Scroll Award was Stella Bennett (Benee), Joshua Fountain, and Djeisan Suskov for their hit song Glitter.

Following on from Soaked in 2019, this is the second consecutive nomination for the trio of songwriters and Bennett was thrilled to win the Silver Scroll for the first time.

“This is nuts. Thank you very much. This is crazy. I just want to say to all the other finalists, you guys are insane. Bennett said in her acceptance speech.

"Thank you so much to everyone who has listened to my music and supported the music that I’m making and the kind of music that I want to be making…the support that I’ve received over the past couple of years now has been insane, and I feel like everyone in New Zealand is so welcoming and supportive of new artists, which I think is very important, and it’s been a very great time for me, so thank you very much.” 

The winners of all awards were:

  • APRA Silver Scroll Award: Stella Bennett, Joshua Fountain and Djeisan Suskov – Glitter – performed by Benee (published by Sony/ATV Publishing and Universal Music Publishing)
  • APRA Maioha Award: Rob Ruha – Ka Mānu
  • SOUNZ Contemporary Award – Te Tohu Auaha: Michael Norris – Mātauranga (Rerenga)
  • APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film Award: Karl Steven – Come To Daddy
  • APRA Best Original Music in a Series Award: David Long – The Luminaries (published by Native Tongue Music Publishing)