Richard Taylor designs Tūī for the 2021 Aotearoa Music Prize


This year’s Aotearoa Music Awards winners will receive a unique TÅ«Ä«, designed and created by WÄ“tā Workshop CEO and Creative Director Richard Taylor and the WÄ“tā Workshop team.

A longtime contributor to the creative industries in New Zealand, Richard and his team have provided creative service work for local and international films, TV series, and place-based experiences. Best known for their work on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Gallipoli – The Scale of Our War and more recently their Unleashed experience at Sky City in Auckland.

“It is an absolute pleasure to create the TÅ«Ä« 2021 for this year’s Aotearoa Music Awards. Music has always played a major role in my life – I still remember listening to Radio B with Karen Hay on a radio my father made when I was a young child living in rural Auckland, ”says Taylor.

“And of course when I moved to Wellington after graduating from high school I discovered Radio Active and have been a huge fan ever since.

“One of the highlights of my work over the past 30 years has been the opportunity to collaborate with composer and multi-instrumentalist from Wellington, Tane Upjohn – Beatson. We have now worked on Gallipoli – The Ladder of Our War, Bug Lab and more recently our Unleashed experience in Auckland.

“Using music in such a powerful way to support the narrative and emotion of our exhibits and significantly enhance the experience of our guests has been extremely uplifting for me. “

Taylor’s favorite New Zealand bands include Screaming Meemees, Toy Love, Newmatics, Instigators, Headless Chickens, Blam Blam Blam – or whatever comes from Don McGlashan – Rhombus, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Ghidrah.

Recorded Music New Zealand Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa Sarah Owen is honored to have Taylor involved in this year’s awards ceremony.

“At the heart of the Aotearoa Music Awards is celebrating the creativity of our artists, and we believe this year’s TÅ«Ä« is a great reflection of that creative energy and passion,” said Owen.

Nature-inspired design

Joining Dick Frizzell (2018) and Boh Runga (2019), Taylor’s take on the iconic prize draws inspiration from the beauty of the TÅ«Ä« bird, as well as the native flora and fauna of Aotearoa.

“The twisted shapes of the room suggest how the Tūī perch on a branch while rotating their bodies to feed on kowhai flowers,” Taylor explains.

“The helix intertwined in the shapes of the body is representative of the musically inspired weaving to make a song or composition, and at the foot of this spiral is a treble clef – recognizing one of the foundations of the music celebrated by the price. “

The entire room is lit by a soft pale green light, illuminating the sculpture and capturing the iridescence of TÅ«Ä«’s feathers in the light.

The TÅ«Ä« will be presented to this year’s winners at the Aotearoa Music Awards on Friday, December 17, 2021.

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