Pacific Music Industry in NZ was at all-time high under Labour Government

By SUGA Magazine / Published on Friday, 22 Sep 2017 04:39 AM / No Comments / 660 views
Pasifika record label Dawn Raid smashed all records in the NZ music industry earning them the title of #1 record label in NZ | Getty

OPINION: Over a decade ago, the Pacific Music industry in NZ was thriving and at it’s peak, thanks to Number 1 NZ record label Dawn Raid who were producing hits after hits.  The Pacific Music industry in NZ was soaring and whilst it was soaring, it was also shaping the ‘NZ music industry’ as a whole. This boom was largely to due to Labour being in government.

Labour pumped millions into Arts funding via NZ On Air and much of this assisted Pasifika music artists into creating professional A-grade music videos and records.

As a result, South Auckland Samoan rappers like Savage and Devolo from Dawn Raid’s outfit Deceptikonz, were collaborating with well-known U.S Music artists.

Savage’s single Moonshine featuring Akon became a NZ party anthem. His follow up single Swing! featuring American rapper Souljah Boy saw those unit sales in the U.S reach 1 million. His buddy Devolo was also enjoying some limelight featuring as a rapper on The Pussycat Dolls Bottle Pop single and even launched his own debut album.

Highest selling female artist Mariah Carey sampled Adeaze’s popular track A life with you on her chart topping album The Emancipation of Mimi – a huge breakthrough for Dawn Raid Records.

Around the same time, rapper Scribe (represented by producer P-Money) held the number 1 album position on BOTH the NZ and Australia charts; artist Dei Hamo impressed audiences with polished and high budget music videos which were the talk of New Zealand and let’s not forget the unforgettable Aaradhna and Adeaze hit ‘Getting Stronger’ which really stamped Polynesian Pop Music in NZ’s rich music history.

Labour has recently proposed an injection of 38 million into media which will reflect a more ‘accurate’ and multicultural NZ . This will include increased Pasifika programming. Funds will be pumped into NZ on air to help execute this and there is no doubt that music and arts funding will be similar in numbers.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern described the boost in media funds as an ‘increase in-house production and distribution of New Zealand content reflecting all parts of New Zealand. Maori, Pasifika and other ethnic communities, people with disabilities, and education and entertainment for children will have a stronger presence with Labour’s policy.’

As New Zealand heads to the Polls tomorrow, we reflect on what former Labour leader and NZ Prime Minister Helen Clarke said as she handed rapper Savage his Best Male Artist award at the 2008 NZ Music Awards: “We can help in ways by giving grants to artists through New Zealand on Air but it is talent, guts and determination that gets success in this sector.”

With the success of individuals today like dancer SUGA Parris Goebel, more and more Polynesian youth see a future in the arts. The days where parents used to impose their complacent views and hopes on their kids to become “doctors and lawyers” could be diminishing as they are open their eyes to the reality that their children may want to pursue other avenues.

We must never underestimate the power of the arts and what the arts can do for Pasifika progression in NZ.

For Pasifika youth to see their own people in music videos and on records and especially on number one records, makes them proud to be Pasifika. It is a direct influence. It builds self-esteem, self-confidence. It creates more visibility for young Pasifika artists in Pop culture today that is relevant. Achievement in the music industry especially can help put a nation even two nations on the map.  I believe we can have a return of the Pasifika music phenomenon that we saw years ago. Under Labour, it can be achieved.

– Valerie Ulu

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