2021 Rotorua songwriting winner announced

Dejian Robb won the 2021 Te Manu Tito Waiata Rotorua song writing competition . Supplied.

In the lead up to New Zealand Music Month Rotorua locals have had the opportunity to enter Te Manu Tito Waiata Song Writing Competition, designed to recognise and showcase some of the talented people in the Rotorua community who are creating original songs.

This year Desian Robb took out the top spot with his Song for Mum’, receiving the $1,000 prize and the opportunity to have his work professionally recorded.

Desian is no stranger to Te Manu Tito Waiata, having been awarded a highly commended prize in the inaugural 2020 competition.

When hearing he had won this year’s competition he was over the moon.

“It’s awesome. It’s made my day,” says Desian.

“I’ve been writing songs since I was ten years old, playing guitar since I was 12 and playing around with Fruity Loops producing my own music since 2006.”

Part of the prize this year is to have the winning song professionally produced and Desian is excited to get feedback and input from an outside perspective.

The tough job of judging the entries fell to three well-known personalities in the local music scene, Michael Barker, Turanga Merito and Mercia Yates.

“The winning song really stood out for its hooky melody. It has a good feel, creating an entity within itself. It’s instantly memorable”, says Michael.

“It’s great that people put pen to paper, putting their heart and soul into song form. Listening to all the entries gave me a huge sense of pride in our community.”

"There was a huge variety of songs this year, reflecting the diversity of our community,” says Mercia. “Every song told a story, not only about the writer but also one that resonated with me.”

The judges felt two other songs also stood out, and decided to award second prize of $500 to Nikau Chater for her song ‘You Be You’, and third prize to Mike Hastie for his song ‘Wild Love’. Both will have the opportunity for a professional development session with Michael Barker.

Listen to the songs here:

Winner of the 2021 Te Manu Tito Waiata Rotorua Song Writing Competition

Second and third awarded for 2021 Te Manu Tito Waiata Rotorua Song Writing Competition


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