Pacific musicians recognised at in-person awards ceremony in Manukau, Auckland 

This evening, the Pacific music community was celebrated at the 2023 Pacific Music Awards at the Due Drop Events Centre (formerly named the Vodafone Events Centre) in Manukau, Auckland.

Avondale born artist Melodownz took out three awards for Recorded Music Te Pukaemi Toa o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa | Best Pacific Music Album, NZ Music Commission Best Pacific Male Artist, and NZ on Air Best Pacific Music Video Awards for Lone Wolf.

A notable winner was Olivia Foa’I, who was named Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist and won Sunpix Best Pacific Language with ‘Sunlight’.

The FLAVA Best Pacific Group award went to Deceptikonz for their captivating album In Perpetuity, while Punialava’a took home the 531pi Best Pacific Gospel Artist award for Tagi Le Atunu’u Pele.

In the hip-hop category, Poetik’s Hamofied Tre was recognised as the Matai Watches Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist, while Sam V’s soulful tracks on The one, the lonely EP, ‘Come Through’, and ‘Love Again’ earned him the Best Pacific Soul/RnB Artist award.

Three Houses Down’s ‘The Dream’ and ‘She Loves Me’ impressed and secured them the Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist award.

International talent was also recognised, with Josh Tatofi winning the NIU FM Best International Pacific Artist award for his mesmerising tracks Prisoner of Love’, ‘Sweet Loven’, ‘Landslide’, ‘Still the One’, ‘Pua Ahih’i, ‘Good Morning Beautiful’, and ‘Tomorrow’.

Acknowledging the key role of producers, the MPG/SAE Best Producer award went to Mareko x Ricky Paul for their collaborative work on Untitled: ACT 1.

With the unofficial anthem of Toa Samoa, Victor J Sefo’s ‘685’ (co-written with Ventry Parker and Elijah Tovio) earned him the APRA Best Pacific Song award. He also received the Arch Angel Independent Music Award.

Recognising the power of their music, SWIDT feat. Lomez Brown received the NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award for ‘Kelz Garage’, while Savage ft Aaradhna’s ‘They Don’t Know’ won them the NZ On Air Streaming Award with over 28.2 million streams across Spotify and YouTube.

A fan favourite, Wayno, walked away with the Sunpix People’s Choice Award – Best Pacific Artist, while Teo Glacier was awarded with the Phillip Fuemana Award for Most Promising Pacific Artist.

Lady Shaka was recognised with the Creative New Zealand Award for her innovative, genre-bending music and international success as a DJ and creative force.

Special recognition was also given to deserving individuals and organisations, with 531pi – celebrating 30 years of broadcasting and Mark Vanilau, for his soundtrack composition for ‘A Boy Called Piano’ receiving the Ministry for Pacific Peoples Special Recognition Awards, and the late Toni Williams being honoured with the Manukau Institute of Technology Te Pukenga. Lifetime Achievement Award to hononour his career and contribution to music.

The family of Toni Williams shared: “As a family we proudly celebrate Toni’s life and music at any opportunity. We are so grateful to the Pacific Music Awards Trust for sharing with others, through this special award, recognition and honour of Toni’s Pacific heritage and lifetime of musical achievements.”

Pacific Music Awards Trust spokesperson Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua says:

“2023 Pacific Music Awards theme:  Leveki mo e Puipui E Magafaoa Katoa |Guide and Protect the Entire Family acknowledges the Spiritual Cultural Political roles that Pacific Music contributes to the well being of Pacific people in turn all people. The 2023 Pacific Music Awards were full of full of Taonga moments and we were able to collectively represent and celebrate all our Pasifika nations.”

Event Producer Petrina Togi-Sa’ena says: “This year’s celebration was full of heart and collective spirit. We loved this chance to bring our music communities together, where we can gather as one big extended family, to celebrate our Pacific artists and honour Pacific music. We especially loved shining the light for Niue, with our theme, language components and beautiful opening performance. It’s our annual night to shine and to bring joy. We loved every minute of it!  Huge congratulations to all the award recipients, thank you to our incredible performers and everyone involved. 2023PMAs you were wonderful!”

Alongside the celebration of our Pacific music winners, there were several live performances from finalists and winners alike including Melodownz, Lou’ana, Lepani, Jordyn With A Why, Jaro Local, and Victor J Sefo featuring Poetik and Biggs 685.

There was also an opening performance from a collective featuring Hakupu Atua Youth Auckland-Three Star Nation, celebrating Niue, the rock of Polynesia; and a special tribute celebrating the legacy of Toni Williams performed by Cook Island String Band, the Kabin Bread Boyz.

The Pacific Music Awards 2023 celebrated the diversity, creativity, and talent of the Pacific music community, leaving a lasting impact on the music industry.


2023 Pacific Music Awards Winners:

Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist:

  • WINNER: Olivia Foa’I – ‘Sunlight’
  • Jordan Gavet – ‘He Said’
  • Jordyn with a Why – ‘Brown Melodies’
  • Lou’ana – ‘Lost & Found’

NZ Music Commission Best Pacific Male Artist:

  • Sam V The one, the lonely EP, ‘Come Through’, ‘Love Again’
  • Victor J Sefo – ‘685’, ‘685 Remix’

Flava Best Pacific Group:

  • WINNER: DeceptikonzIn Perpetuity
  • STNDRD Jukebox |’Otara (Misunderstood)’
  • Three Houses Down – ‘The Dream’

531pi Best Pacific Gospel Artist:

  • WINNER: Punialava’aTagi Le Atunu’u Pele
  • Blsd OneReady or Not EP
  • Wayno – ‘Seu lou Pologa’, ‘Siva Samoa 2K23’

Matai Watches Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist:

  • WINNER: PoetikHamofied Tre
  • DeceptikonzIn Perpetuity
  • MELODOWNZLone Wolf

Best Pacific Soul/RnB Artist:

  • WINNER: Sam VThe one, the lonely EP, ‘Come Through,’ ‘Love Again’
  • Lepani – ‘Tell You Something’, ‘The Morning’
  • Lou’ana – ‘Lost & Found’

Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist:

  • WINNER: Three Houses Down – ‘The Dream’, ‘She Loves Me’
  • Canaan Ene x Swiss – ‘Luv & Company’
  • Sweet & Irie – ‘Maximum ft Shane Walker’, ‘My Communication to You’

Niu FM Best International Pacific Artist:

  • WINNER: Josh Tatofi – ‘Prisoner of Love’, ‘Sweet Loven’, ‘Landslide’, ‘Still the One’, ‘Pua Ahih’I’, ‘Good Morning Beautiful’, ‘Tomorrow’
  • FAIVA – ‘Valovalo Mai’
  • Jaro LocalFlowers of July EP

MPG/SAE Best Producer:

  • WINNER: Mareko x Ricky PaulUntitled: ACT 1 (Producer: Ricky Paul Musik)
  • Sam V – ‘Come Through’, ‘Sex & Pain’, ‘Love Again’,’ I Tried To Tell U’ Producer: Edward Liu
  • Victor J Sefo – ‘685’ ‘685 Remix’ Producer: Victor J Sefo

NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video:

  • WINNER: MELODOWNZ– ‘Pray For More ft Lisi, Mikey Dam’ (Directed by Connor Pritchard)
  • Olivia Foa’i – ‘Sunlight’ Directed by Shae Sterling
  • Hales – ‘Just My Type’ Directed by Canaan Ene
  • Lou’ana – ‘Lost & Found’ Directed by Anna Rose Duckworth

APRA Best Pacific Song:

  • WINNER: Victor J Sefo– ‘685’ (Written by Victor J Sefo, Ventry Parker, Elijah Tovio)
  • Deceptikonz – ‘One Time’ Written by D Savelio/ M Sagapolutele D Maoate/D Puniani/R Oliver/D Adams/V Papalii
  • Olivia Foa’i – ‘Sunlight’ Written by Olivia Foa’i
  • Sam V – ‘Come Through’ Written by Sam Verlinden, Eli Naea, Edward Liu

SunPix Best Pacific Language:

  • WINNER: Olivia Foa’i– ‘Sunlight’
  • Canaan Ene x Junior – Soqeta ‘Tabamuni’
  • Rei & Olivia Foa’i – ‘Kokomea’
  • Wayno – ‘Seu lou Pologa’, ‘Siva Samoa 2K23’

Recorded Music NZ Te Pukaemi Toa O Te Moana Nui A Kiwa | Best Pacific Music Album Award:

  • PoetikHamofied Tre
  • STNDRD Jukebox

NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award:

  • WINNER: SWIDT ft Lomez Brown– ‘Kelz Garage’


NZ On Air Streaming Award:

  • WINNER: Savage ft Aaradhna– ‘They Don’t Know’

SunPix People’s Choice Award – Best Pacific Artist:

  • WINNER: Wayno

Phillip Fuemana Award – Most Promising Pacific Artist:

  • Teo Glacier

Creative New Zealand Award:

  • Lady Shaka

Ministry for Pacific Peoples Special Recognition Award:

  • 531pi

Ministry for Pacific Peoples Special Recognition Award:

  • Mark Vanilau

Arch Angel Independent Music Award:

  • Victor J Sefo

Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Te Pukenga Achievement Award:

  • Toni Williams