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As New Zealand Music Month 2014 kicks off for another year, the Pacific Music Awards Trust is delighted to announce that legendary New Zealand musician Che Ness will receive the Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Vodafone Pacific Music Awards on 8 May.

The highly-regarded musician is being acknowledged at the 10th anniversary of the music awards for his significant contribution to the Pacific music industry, including paving the way for many of today’s New Zealand Pasifika, soul, hip hop and reggae performers.

One of the country’s hip hop pioneers, Che Ness MNZM – known as Che Fu and born in Auckland in 1974 - is a tower of strength in Kiwi music. Half Māori and half Niuean and educated at Western Springs College, Che is the son of Tigilau Ness, one of reggae’s founding musicians in New Zealand.

Che was a founding member of the Low-Down Dirty Blues Band, later renamed Supergroove. The ground-breaking band’s first album Traction debuted at #1 on the NZ Album charts, quickly going platinum before taking home four Tuis at the 1995 New Zealand Music Awards.

He went solo in 1997, recording the highly-successful Chains with DJ DLT. The song was #1 on the New Zealand singles chart.

Che released his debut solo album 2b S.Pacific in 1998 which, took out Best Single for Scene III at the music awards the following year. The album produced four #1 hits and went double platinum.

As a songwriter, he won an APRA Silver Scroll Award in 2002 for the now New Zealand classic Misty Frequencies.

As the 21st century dawned, Che signed with Sony Music and released The Navigator in 2002. The album represents a fusion of soul, reggae, hip-hop and Pacifica sounds. At the 2002 NZ Music Awards The Navigator nabbed five Tuis including Album of the Year, Single of the year for Fade Away and Top Male Vocalist.

Che remains a prolific solo performer. In 2009 he became a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for his services to music.

Pacific Music Awards Trust spokesperson Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua says Che Fu has the mana and status befitting the 10th anniversary of the awards.

“Che has significantly influenced Pacific music in the past decade and inspired other artists to follow his lead. That is essentially what we are celebrating with his award and the awards themselves.

“He has great standing with both mainstream Māori and Pasifika peoples and it is appropriate that he is the second member of the Ness family to be honoured with this award – his father received the same award in 2009. Che exemplifies the humility of alofa and passion for our Pasifika people, expressing musically the soundtrack of our generation,” Strickson-Pua says.

The Vodafone Pacific Music Awards takes place on Thursday 8 May at the Vodafone Events Centre. Tickets are on sale now through Ticket Direct. Adult tickets are $25, children’s $10 and concession tickets $15.

The performers at the 10th anniversary 2014 Vodafone Pacific Music Awards will be a mix of 2014 finalists and previous award winners, including Creative Souls Project, BrownHill, Mark Vanilau, Kas Futialo, GiantKilla, Cydel, Kalaga’la, Smashproof and Ardijah.

To further celebrate a huge decade of Pacific music in New Zealand, the Pacific Music Awards Trust has compiled a CD featuring some of New Zealand’s best Pacific performers. Village Radio showcases the impressive depth of Pacific talent in this country, including Sole Mio, Aaradhna, Bella Kalolo, Iva Lamkum and many-time PMA finalists Nesian Mystik. The album pays historical tribute with Pacific favourite Brother Love and inaugural PMA Best Pacific Album winner Ardijah. It also signals the new dawn with rising stars Swiss and Donell Lewis. Village Radio goes on sale May 1. A limited edition version will be available for sale at the 2014 Vodafone Pacific Music Awards.

About the Vodafone Pacific Music Awards:

In 2004 the Pacific Music Awards Committee (PMAC) was formed to realise a vision and the inaugural Pacific Music Awards debuted at Pasifika Festival in March 2005. Encouraged by the success of the awards the PMAC set about developing an annual event as a significant highlight of the New Zealand music industry calendar. The awards committee formed a Charitable Trust to organise and host the awards, working with the Recorded Music New Zealand and driven by a simple objective: to create and manage an event that acknowledges the success of Pacific artists, celebrates and promotes excellence in Pacific music and encourages young Pacific musicians to aspire to a higher level of achievement.

Issued for Pacific Music Awards Trust by Pead PR

Contacts:

Siobhan Waterhouse, Tel: 0-9-918 5547, Mob: 022-126-4149 email: siobhan(at)peadpr.co.nz

Alex Gray, Pead PR, Tel: 0-9-551 2379, Mob: 021-0299 1295, email: alex(at)peadpr.co.nz