May 9, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Rock chick wins Maorioke

2 min read

The Dominion Post is reporting that “a white rock chick from Porirua who once convinced herself she was Samoan has won a nationwide Maori singing contest.”

Esther MelodyEsther Melody, 21, won series six of Maori Television’s Maorioke competition last night, beating 29 other contestants for the $10,000 prize.

“I am the whitest Maori you are ever likely to see. I only entered as a joke, but it has ended up being a brilliant experience.”

Raised in Cannons Creek, she had so many Samoan friends that she thought she was Samoan until age seven. “Then I realised the truth. It was a shock, but I have come to terms with it,” she joked.

TV show producer Maraki Parata said Maorioke, which first screened in 2003, was like New Zealand Idol in that it was dedicated to finding and exposing local talent.

Contestants, who did not have to be Maori, were handpicked for the 10-week show, rather than chosen at open auditions. Judges singer-songwriter Anika Moa, entertainer Brannigan Kaa and music producer Victor Stent decided the winner.

Ms Melody was asked to go on the show after organisers were directed to her website by a friend.

“They must have liked what they heard and then they asked if I wanted to be in the competition. I checked my diary, saw I had nothing else on, so decided to give it a go. I was fully thinking I had no chance so I didn’t take it too seriously.

“I knew I could sing as well as anyone else but I was the only rock chick that was there. I had no idea what the judges were looking for.”

In the heats, contestants selected their own songs but, for the final, they had to pick from a set category each week, including the 1990s, Michael Jackson and Kiwi music.

Ms Melody will use the prize money to boost her band, The Esther Melody Band. The group has been together for about two years and received New Zealand on Air funding for its latest single Meet Me At the Water. The song made it into the top 40 chart in February.


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