Dreamy Good Night melodies, an imaginary backwards world, Itty Bitty Bubbles, standing together against bullying, the importance of caring for Papatūānuku and ‘nothing’ are all subjects that have burst into the taringa of tamariki this past year. The 2022 NZ Children’s Music Awards are an annual presentation, celebrating music written for kiwi kids.

These lyricists, musical architects, and wildly varied assortment of creators, encourage kiwi kids to kick up their heals and inflame a love of music for the tamariki of Aotearoa.  Music universally conjures a magical joy to the soul and plays a central role in our children’s lives, conducting their stories and stirring their senses.

Drum roll please….

APRA Best Children’s Song finalists:
– Kath Bee, Ryan Beehre, Luke Epapara for E Tū Tāngata – Stand Together performed by Mika Elley ft. Kurnel MC

– Michal Amy Bush, Andrew Knopp, Victoria Knopp for Family performed by Music with Michal

– Michal Amy Bush, Andrew Knopp, Victoria Knopp for Good Night performed by Music with Michal

Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Waiata Tamariki Toa / Best Children’s Music Artist finalists:
Itty Bitty Beats for Itty Bitty Bubbles

Levity Beet for Levity Beet’s Bamboo Banger Collection

Music with Michal for Summer Days

NZ On Air Best Children’s Music Video finalists: 
– Chris Lam Sam for Song About Nothing video produced by Mukpuddy Animation

– Music with Michal for Goodnight video produced by Dylan Jones at For Good Media

– Loopy Tunes Music for Guardians of Papatūānuku video produced by Luke Siaki, Siu Williams-Lemi and Leah Williams-Partington

As five-time curator of the NZ Children’s Music Awards and a NZ children’s music writer, author and broadcaster herself, Suzy Cato is very proud of the children’s music community of Aotearoa.

“We are blessed with a wealth of artists from across the country, covering a variety of genres; all with tamariki in their hearts as they create. As the kiwi kids music community continues to grow, so does the quality of the content produced. These songs are a snapshot of our tamariki’s lives and are guaranteed to get them up dancing and singing along.”

Presented by Recorded Music NZ, APRA AMCOS NZ, and NZ On Air, the awards have the support of Kiwi Kids Music, the national association of children’s songwriters, creators and producers.  Formed by some of the most passionate creators of music for kiwi kids, the association supports NZ children’s music creators and seeks to advance the potential of all our children to live healthy fulfilling lives.

Winners will be announced at an invite only ceremony on Sunday 15 May at Tuning Fork, Spark Arena.  The show will be hosted by tamariki from across Aotearoa. There will be live performances, video screenings, and to follow the awards, interactive music-making workshops, afternoon tea, and plenty of fun and games.

Thanks to APRA AMCOS NZ, Recorded Music NZ, Spark Arena and NZ On Air who have created a special spotifty playlist celebrating this years finalists, available here.

Chris Lam Sam is one of Aotearoa’s most recognisable musical entertainers for young families.  Since 2003 he has been a member of NZ children’s musical supergroup, The Funky Monkeys, who have performed more than 900 shows, produced seven albums and won the inaugural APRA NZ Best Children’s Music Video Award in 2008.  Released on 26 September, Silly Funny Songs For Kids is his first independent album. Chris continues to tour and perform original music for young families in his independent show, Mr. Lam Sam’s Musical Mayhem Show.

Itty Bitty Beats is the musical pairing of Christchurch-based Jenny Payne and Lucy Hiku.  Knowing that parents need to listen to their songs too, their joyful voices bring music to adults’ ears too.  Jenny and Lucy are no stranger to these awards, being finalists and winners multiple times, including Best Children’s Song & Album in 2016.  Their albums are themed, with their most recent release ‘Itty Bitty Bubbles’, featuring the popular song ‘Bubble Shop’.

Kath Bee has been writing songs for school-aged children for 20 years and has won several APRA awards including ‘Children’s Song of the Year’ in 2020, with “I Love Life” co-written by Doug Stenhouse.  E Tū Tāngata commissioned Kath to write a song to add to their kete of resources for primary/intermediate schools, tackling ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ in Aotearoa, to transform communities.  To add a ‘Kiwi/Pacifica’ feel, Kath asked Luke Epapara, aka Kurnel MC, a NZ rapper living in the UK and Ryan Beehre aka Serpico, a producer/musician and one of the founding members of pioneering electronica band, Minuit, to help her create this song.  The song is sung by Mika Elley and includes many wonderful children’s voices, all from the Nelson region.

Levity Beet is no stranger to these awards having won the 2018 Tūi Best Childrens Music Artist and APRA Children’s Song of the Year award three times. Finalist for Best Children’s Artist 2022, this collection of songs encourages children to join in with music creation, find joy in unexpected aspects of nature, laugh and rethink the way we approach caring for each other and the rest of the planet. Many of Levity’s unusual instrument inventions made using recycled appliances and materials feature in this humourous and heartfelt music for children and the young at heart. He shares his unique music adventure in schools, early childhood centres and festivals all over New Zealand.

Loopy Tunes Music are Christchurch-based sister music duo, Siu and Leah,

who are recognised for their reorua/bilingual Māori and Pasifika children’s waiata, sung in their beautifully harmonious style.  In their nominated “Guardians of Papatūānuku” music video, produced by Luke Siaki, they are joined on vocals by Ana Faau, who co-wrote the song with them. The waiata is produced by Thom O’Connor and features a beautiful soundscape by taonga puoro artist, Ruby Solly.

Michal Bush, with an exceptional four nominations this year, is a Christchurch singer-songwriter performing as ‘Music with Michal’.  Known for her catchy, beautiful and often meaningful (sometimes silly) songwriting – Michal’s music is making waves both locally and internationally with her song ‘Brave’ winning Best Children’s Song in the 2021 NZ Childrens Music Awards and currently sitting as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. Michal has released two full length albums and a series of emotional wellbeing videos, while also publishing five children’s picture books. In 2020, Michal begun collaborating with production duo and multi instrumentalists Victoria and Andrew Knopp.  The duo have their own indie pop project The Response and work with various NZ acts to help them shape and develop their sound.