2 May 2020

Children’s Music Awards 2020: finalists announced

From RNZ Music, 6:00 am on 2 May 2020

A tiny pony, a flittering korimako and shuffling earthworms all make an appearance in this year’s Children’s Music Awards – an annual presentation celebrating music written for kids.

Aro are finalists for Best Children’s song with their track ‘Korimako’

The Children’s Music Awards celebrate the storytellers, rhymers, singers and groovers who ignite a love for music in New Zealand’s kids.

Winners will be announced later this month at a special virtual awards ceremony – more details to come.

The finalists for the 2020 Children’s Music Awards are:

APRA Best Children's Song:

  • Kath Bee - 'I Love Life' (feat. Joelle) written by Kath Bee and Doug Stenhouse
  • Aro - 'Korimako' written by Emily and Charles Looker
  • Ben Sinclair and Jeremy Dillon - 'Tony the Tiny Pony'

Te Kaipuoro Waiata Tamariki Toa / Best Children’s Music Artist:

  • Anika Moa
  • Captain Festus McBoyle
  • Chris Sanders

NZ On Air Best Children's Music Video: 

  • Little Ripples - ‘Read To Me’, video by Emily Benge
  • Chris Sanders - ‘Tahi Tahi Tahi Ambulance Song’
  • Ben Sinclair and Jeremy Dillon - ‘Tony the Tiny Pony’, video by Ned Wenlock
  • The Nukes - ‘Worms’, video by Parry Jones and Christian Tjandrawinata

About the finalists:

Anika Moa

Anika is an Aotearoa multi-award winning recording artist, children’s entertainer, television and radio presenter and māmā of four! In a career spanning over 20 years, she has released six studio albums, including three wildly successful children’s albums, Songs For Bubbas, inspired by all the tamariki she keeps on having! Having won 6 Tui already, this year saw the release of Songs for Bubbas 3 for which she is nominated. 


Are blends the honey-voiced jazz vocals and full throated percussive sounds of Emily and Charles Looker. 2019 saw the release of Manu, inspired by the character of ten native birds, Aro shared songs celebrating this country’s natural heritage and wildlife in a mix of jazz, pop and taonga pūoro, written and sung in both English and Te Reo Maori. Currently performing Friday nights at 7pm live on Facebook from their bubble.

Ben Sinclair and Jeremy Dillon

Ben and Jeremy collaborated to write and record ‘Tony the Tiny Pony’, a country and western ballad about a titular pony. Jeremy recalled a tiny pony he had seen while filming the popular NZ children’s television series The Moe Show, it was mentioned to Ben and before too long they had written and recorded the song. Instruments were played by Ben with Andrew Thorne and Narelle Ahrens providing vocals. Frequent collaborator Ned Wenlock bought his unique vision and style to direct and animate the video. 

Captain Festus McBoyle

Captain Festus McBoyle is played by Richard Manic. His Vaudevillian styled troupe offers an offbeat, slightly edgey alternative to the NZ children’s music scene. He is joined onstage by Miss Lucy Drawers (Larissa Lofley) and Mr Ebenezer Strong (Gareth Price). No stranger to these awards, The Captains third album Bubbles and Squeek saw the live trio travelling all over NZ offering interactive live stage shows and workshops. They have had appearances at WOMAD, Splore,  Auckland City Limits, The Nelson Arts festival plus collaborations with the entire Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Finalists Bests Kids Song, International Songwriters Competition 2018, Semi Finalists Best Kids Song, International Songwriters Competition 2019.

Chris Sanders

Chris is a finalist in two categories for his exceptional year that includes the release of the bi-lingual version of the incredibly catchy and educational ‘111 Ambulance Song’ for Te Wiki o te reo maori. The last 12 months have seen Chris perform over 100 shows, release seven new songs, a new picture book with music and a special performance with the APO. His first stage show musical production is completed and he achieved an honour from the New Zealand Governor General. 

Kath Bee

Kath’s songs have provided the soundtrack, to the lives of a generation of Kiwi Kids. A three-time APRA Children’s Video of the Year winner, this is her second year in a row as Song of the Year finalist. She wrote ‘I Love Life’ after seeing a picture, drawn by seven-year old Joelle Noar, on Facebook. Five years later, after joining forces with Producer, Doug Stenhouse, the song was ready for vocals and who better than Joelle herself, now a very talented and musically experienced 12-year old. Also from Nelson, Joelle has appeared in many musicals and is pursuing a career in acting and singing.

Little Ripples 

Little Ripples is harmony-laden children's folk music dreamed up amidst family life in coastal Northland. As parents and teachers, co-creators Emily and Sam Benge, felt a need to make music that speaks to the unique experiences of children growing up in Aotearoa, and to connect with the hearts of the people raising them. Sweet harmonies paired with the ukulele, guitar and double bass create a soulful heartwarming sound promoting connection and well-being.   

The Nukes

The Nukes are Aotearoa’s most beloved and enduring ‘original ukulele trio’. For more than 10 years this unlikely league of musical miscreants has traipsed around Australasia, bringing joy and harmony to all they encounter. With three compelling albums of their self-penned tunes as proof of their creative endeavours, the trio of Dave Parker, Mike Burrows and Ben Collier present music that is original quirky and very kiwi. Great song-writing, musicianship and three-part harmony combine to create a truly memorable, entertaining experience.