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The Taite Music Prize 2016

The Taite Music Prize 2016: announcing this years 'Independent Music NZ Classic Record' award

IMNZ is proud to announce the second award to be presented at this years Taite Music Prize 2016 event. The ceremony is to include the 'Independent Music NZ Classic Record', which aims to acknowledge Aotearoa's rich history of making fine records that continue to inspire us and define who we are.

The panel to determine the recipient of this new award was made up of a broad section of music media/industry specialists, who have given the nod this year to the Upper Hutt Posse - 'E Tu' (1988 Jayrem) as one of Aotearoa's classic records. The award is scheduled to be accepted by members of the band.

When informed of the news this week, Te Kupu said: "It's great for a conscious song of resistance to be respected in this way, and although it already has a firm place in the hip-hop musical history of Aotearoa, this award is somewhat unexpected and therefore a little extra pleasing. UHP appreciates the regard shown to us, and to all musicians, composers and artists who're compelled to create songs of conscience, ka whawhai tonu tatou!"

Peter McLennan, author, musician and judging panelist said: "E Tu is a hugely important record, both culturally and politically. It showed local rap fans and budding rappers that we could make this exciting new genre our own, with rhyming in Te Reo and English, and by name-checking local history. Upper Hutt Posse are our hip-hop pioneers, and they opened the gates for the likes of Dam Native, Three The Hard Way, and Che Fu."

L – R: Upper Hutt Posse "E Tu" (Jayrem Records) / Upper Hutt Posse in Mount Street, Auckland, 1990. Images courtesy of

UHP formed as a four-piece reggae band in 1985. Since their inception, Dean Hapeta (also known as D Word or Te Kupu) and the Posse have been fighting racial injustice through their music. In 1988 they released New Zealand's first rap record and their first 12-inch hip hop record, "E Tu", through Jayrem Records. The song combined African American revolutionary rhetoric with an explicitly Maori frame of reference, to create a cry of self-affirmation by a new generation. It pays homage to the rebel Maori warrior chiefs of Aotearoa's colonial history, Hone Heke, Te Kooti, and Te Rauparaha.

The Taite Music Prize 2016 event is held on Wednesday 20th April in Auckland and is an invite-only ceremony. IMNZ member The Leonard Charles Casiotone Orchestra is scheduled to perform curated live sets for the gathered guests.


Presented by: Independent Music New Zealand (IMNZ)

Founding Partner: Recorded Music NZ

Official Partners: NZ On Air (NZOA) / The Taite Family

Supporting Partners: NZ Music Commission / APRA AMCOS / Native Tongue Music Publishing / Merlin / Media Arts Lawyers / Red Bull Studios Auckland / MOA Beers / Spy Valley Wines / McCarthy Design

Media Partners: 95bFM / iHeartRadio / Juice TV

Charity Partner: NZ Music Foundation


2010: Lawrence Arabia 'Chant Darling' (Honorary Bedouin Records)

2011: Ladi6 'The Liberation Of' (What? Music)

2012: Unknown Mortal Orchestra 'Unknown Mortal Orchestra' (Seeing Records)

2013: SJD 'Elastic Wasteland' (Round Trip Mars)

2014: Lorde 'Pure Heroine' (Universal Music NZ)

2015: Jakob 'Sines' (Shoot The Freak)


2013: Gordons 'Gordons' (Flying Nun Records)

2014: AK-79 Various Artists (Ripper Records)

2015: Herbs 'What's Be Happen?' (Warrior Records)


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