05 May 2024

Announcing the winners of the 2024 NZ Children's Music Awards | Ngā Manu Tīrairaka

APRA AMCOS, Recorded Music NZ and NZ On Air are all wiggly with excitement to announce the winners for the 2024 NZ Children’s Music Awards | Ngā Manu Tīrairaka – celebrating music written and recorded for children.

This afternoon at a family friendly event at Tuning Fork, Auckland, Children's Music creators from across the motu lit up the stage and put a spotlight on melodies tailor-made for the tamariki of Aotearoa and beyond. Levity Beet and Judi Cranston hopped their way to victory, winning the Preschool song category with ‘Funny Little Bunny’, while Little Lips struck a chord with older tamariki, trumpeting the Primary category with ‘Because’, a song about conquering those pesky sight words.

Claudia Robin Gunn soared high and was presented with the first Aotearoa Music Awards Tūī of 2024 for Recorded Music NZ Best Children’s Music Artist | Te Manu Taki Kerekahu o te Tau. Meanwhile, with an uproarious ode to flatulence and feelings penned by the legendary duo Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair and sung by Tami Neilson, the video for ‘Let It Out’ won NZ On Air Best Children’s Music Video | He Manu Tūtei with co-creators Ant Elworthy and Fiona Copland for Kiri and Lou. Don and Harry were unable to attend the Awards but sent an excited acceptance video viewable here.

Presented for the first time, the Kōkako Award nurtures our young performers in their endeavours and was won by 10-year-old Lydia Clark. Lydia will have her song Of Love We Are Made arranged by the Auckland Philharmonia and will get to perform it on stage with the APO later this year.

2024 Ngā Manu Tīrairaka | NZ Children’s Music Awards winners

APRA Best Children's Song – Preschool | He Manu Pīpī:
Levity Beet and Judi Cranston for ‘Funny Little Bunny – The Springtime Action Song’ performed by Levity Beet and Judi Cranston

APRA Best Children's Song – Primary | He Pī Ka Rere:
Steph Brown and Fen Ikner for ‘Because’ performed by Little Lips[ST1]

Recorded Music NZ Best Children’s Music Artist | Te Manu Taki Kerekahu o te Tau:
Claudia Robin Gunn

NZ On Air Best Children’s Music Video | He Manu Tūtei:
Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair (Kiri and Lou) for ‘Let It Out’ video by Harry Sinclair, Ant Elworthy and Fiona Copland

Kiwi Kids Music, NZ Opera and Auckland Philharmonia Kōkako Best Children's Performer:
Lydia Clark for ‘Of Love We Are Made

Also celebrated was the New Zealand Ukulele Trust | Te Rūnanga Ukurere o Aotearoa, this year’s recipient of the Baysting Prize for Children’s Champion. Over the last 17 years the New Zealand Ukulele Trust has reached over 760 schools across the motu through its Kiwileles Programme and, thanks to sponsors, over 2500 ukuleles have been given to schools through their Ukes in Schools initiative. Their online resources are packed with waiata specifically chosen and arranged for tamariki with a focus on the songwriters of Aotearoa, as well as songs from the Pacific Islands, songs for complete beginners, and songs of celebration.

The outcomes of these programs and their impact in creating a love of playing music in young people is immeasurable. Tamariki being inspired by and participating in music is a kaupapa that Arthur Baysting held close to his heart, and worked towards himself, throughout his life.

The Awards were held this afternoon (Sunday 5 May) at a special family friendly event at The Tuning Fork in Tāmaki Makaurau. Hosted by Suzy Cato alongside a gaggle of talented tamariki and rangatahi, the celebration was opened with her daughter, Riley as emcee, and a wonderful mihi whakatau – welcome and blessing from 6-year-old Ana Luka Carrington. Children led the way, introducing performers and announcing winners, as well as special guest presenters from What Now, Whoa Studios, RDU Kids Radio Show, and the Spacestation Kiwi Radio Show beaming in from around the country. Guests were treated to live performances from Craig Smith and Maia Amor-Smith, Loopy Tunes, Claudia Robin Gunn and Little Lips. The afternoon concluded with interactive music-making workshops, afternoon tea, and plenty of fun and games courtesy of The Rockshop/KBB Music, The NZ Ukulele Trust and Suzy’s Sounds Fun activators.

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 the children’s music creators of Aotearoa and seeks to advance the potential of all our children in living healthy fulfilling lives.

Thanks to all the performers and presenters, Spark Arena, NZ Music Commission, Kiwi Kids Music, NZ Opera and Auckland Philharmonia. Here is a special playlist celebrating this year’s finalists.


Levity Beet and Judi Cranston are no strangers to the Children’s Music Awards having multiple nominations as solo children’s performers and collaborators alike. Levity Beet is a musical instrument inventor, music producer and performer based in Mohua who finds much of his inspiration to create from being underwater and exploring coastal New Zealand with a mask and snorkel. Judi Cranston is a musical educator and entrepreneur based in Kawakawa Bay who seeks to motivate music fans of all ages. Their musical collaboration, Funny Little Bunny’, is a sweet celebration of repetition, rhyme, movement, energy and springtime bounty – perfect for sharing with the curious preschooler and their whānau.

Little Lips are Steph Brown and Fen Ikner, both of award-winning ‘grown-up’ musical duo Lips, ably assisted by young Freddy on drums. Inspired by Freddy’s own difficulties with spelling tricky ‘sight words’, Becauseuses a Ramones-inspired rhythmic bop to earworm spelling tips and tricks into young memories. One of many Little Lips ‘Spellodies’, the track works to assist tamariki literacy through the power of melody and is accompanied by a suite of humourous online video content.

Claudia Robin Gunn is an award-winning performer, songwriter, illustrator, and video producer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Through her own independent label and publishing company, Little Wild Music, Claudia has created six albums, two EPs and over 70 videos of original folk-pop for children. Writing sweet, smart music with an emphasis on the wonders of the natural world, Claudia’s music has amassed over 15 million streams and an audience of young fans across the globe.

Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair formed the musical and performance group The Front Lawn in 1985. Over three decades and a raft of individual accolades later, the pair remain musical collaborators as the songwriters for the BAFTA nominated preschool stop-motion animation series, Kiri and Lou. Tackling the anxieties of big feelings with an Aotearoa setting and sound, McGlashan and Sinclair’s wonderfully silly ‘Let It Out’ comes to visual life courtesy of stop-motion animator Ant Elworthy (Coraline, Corpse Bride, Isle of Dogs) and producer Fiona Copland.

2024 Kōkako Award winner Lydia Clark is just 10 years old and loves to sing and play ukulele and piano. She won the Kōkako Award with her song ‘Of Love We Are Made’ co-written with Finn Clark. She is also a keen roller-skater, dancer and painter. Lydia’s dreams are to one day become a professional singer who writes songs, bringing lots of joy to people around the world. And her journey has already started, she is in a choir and performs gigs around her hometown of Napier in her big brother's band.

Of Lydia’s performance, the judges said “Our inaugural winner, Lydia Clark, is a performer who showed an array of vocal skills and gave a performance with a colour and depth beyond her years. On behalf of Kiwi Kids Music, NZ Opera and Auckland Philharmonia we congratulate Lydia and all the finalists and look forward to seeing your successes in the future".

As the Kōkako Award winner, Lydia will have her song ‘Of Love We Are Made’ arranged by the Auckland Philharmonia. She will then perform her song with the Orchestra at Tunes For Tamariki Christmas Concert later in the year, enabling her to showcase their talent! She also takes home the Kōkako Award Trophy, a certificate and a $500 contribution to support her future endeavors in the music industry.


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