Wētā Workshop founder inspired by the beauty of the native bird

The winners at this year’s Aotearoa Music Awards will be presented with a unique Tūī, designed and created by Wētā Workshop CEO and creative director, Richard Taylor and the team at Wētā Workshop.

A long-time contributor to the creative industries in New Zealand, Richard and his team have provided creative service work for local and international films, TV series and location based experiences. Best known for their work on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Avatar, Gallipoli – the Scale of our War and most recently their Unleashed experience in Sky City in Auckland.

“It’s an absolute thrill to be creating the 2021 Tūī for this year’s Aotearoa Music Awards. Music has always played a major role in my life – I can still remember listening to Radio B with Karen Hay on a radio my dad made when I was a young kid living in rural Auckland,” says Taylor.

“And of course – when I moved to Wellington after finishing high school, I discovered Radio Active and have been an avid fan ever since.

“A huge highlight of my work over the past 30+ years has been the opportunity to collaborate with Wellington-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Tane Upjohn – Beatson. We have now worked on Gallipoli – The scale of our War, Bug Lab and most recently our Unleashed experience in Auckland.

“Using music in such a powerful way in support of the narrative and emotion of our exhibitions and so significantly enhance the experience for our guests has been immensely uplifting for me.”

Taylor’s favourite New Zealand bands have included Screaming Meemees, Toy Love, Newmatics, Instigators, Headless Chickens, Blam Blam Blam – or anything from Don McGlashan – Rhombus, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Ghidrah.

Recorded Music New Zealand Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa Sarah Owen is honoured to have Taylor involved with this year’s award ceremony.

“At the heart of the Aotearoa Music Awards is the celebration of creativity from our artists, and we think this year’s Tūī is a great reflection of that creative energy and passion,” says Owen.

Design inspired by nature

Joining former Artist Tūī designers Dick Frizzell (2018) and Boh Runga (2019), Taylor’s take on the iconic award is inspired by the beauty of the Tūī bird, as well as Aotearoa’s native flora and fauna.

“The twisting forms of the piece are suggestive of the way Tūī perch on a branch while turning their bodies to feed on kowhai flowers,” says Taylor.

“The interweaving helix in the body forms are representative of the weaving together of musical inspiration to make a song or composition, and at the foot of this spiral is a G-Clef – acknowledging one of the foundations of the music celebrated by the award.”

The whole piece is underlit by a soft pale green light, illuminating the sculpture and capturing the iridescence of the Tūī feathers in the light.

The Tūī will be presented to this year’s winners at the Aotearoa Music Awards in December.

Announcing humm as presenting partner

Recorded Music NZ are pleased to announce that this year humm will be the presenting partner of the 2021 Aotearoa Music Awards, as well as sponsor of the 2021 Te Kōwhiri o te Nuinga | People’s Choice Award

Deputy Group CEO Chris Lamers says: “humm, the bigger buy now pay later, is thrilled to be supporting and celebrating local artists and their music as the Aotearoa Music Awards presenting partner and the humm People’s Choice Award.”