Te Ahi Kaa, a string quartet from Whangarei have claimed the top prize, The Wallace Foundation Platinum Award at the NZCT Chamber Music Contest 2018 National Final held last night at The Piano in Christchurch.
The adjudication panel of Klara Kollektiv and former New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Wilma Smith acknowledged the incredibly high standard of performances in this year’s contest which saw over 400 ensembles apply nationwide.
Te Ahi Kaa from Northland is made up violinists Maia-Dean Martin and Atawhai Martin, violist Isaiah Kaiawe and cellist Purotu Martin – two sisters, their brother and a friend, all with affiliations to the iwi of Ngāpuhi and Waikato.
Te Ahi Kaa translates as “the home fires burning”, which means for this group, having a presence in chamber music.
They played the intense first movement of Schubert’s famous String Quartet No 14 ‘Death and the Maiden’ hoping to give the music “the mana it deserves”.
After the prize was announced their father stood up in the auditorium and performed an emotional haka.
The National KBB Music Award winner was presented to رقص Raqs, a trio of Burnside High School students and the People’s Choice Award, selected by text voting on the night went to Timeless Trio from Wellington.
RNZ Concert's Clarissa Dunn who was MC for the evening caught up with Te Ahi Kaa immediately after the award ceremony.