Kokako Award Finalists Graphic

Kiwi Kids Music (KKM), in partnership with the Auckland Philharmonia (APO) and NZ Opera (NZO), is thrilled to announce the 5 finalists in the inaugural Kōkako Award, for Best Children’s Performance.

The Kōkako Award is a celebration of the vibrant expressions of our young performers highlighting the importance of children’s artistic creativity and nurturing the blossoming talents of our young performers in Aotearoa, New Zealand!

The finalists will take part in a vocal and performance workshop in Auckland on May 4 where they will also get to perform their song to a panel of judges who will determine the overall 2024 Kōkako Award winner.

The winning young performer will then be announced at the much cherished annual NZ Children’s Music Awards at the Tuning Fork on May 5, 2024.

And the main prize is epic! The winner will have the song they performed arranged by the Auckland Philharmonia and then get to perform the song with the Orchestra at Tunes For Tamariki Christmas Concert (date TBA) enabling them to showcase their talent!

They will also win the Kōkako Award Trophy, a certificate and a $500 contribution to support their future endeavors in the music industry. 

In a combined statement Chris Sanders (KKM), Frances Moore (NZO) and Thomas Hamill (APO) said, “We were overjoyed with the high standard of entries for the inaugural Kōkako Award from all around Aotearoa New Zealand. The Kōkako Award is not just an award; it's an unforgettable journey into the world of music and performance creating a lasting memory for these incredible young performers.”


The 5 Finalists:

Performer: Aria Clarke (Age 11):

Song Title: Be My Own Me (Written by Aria Clark)

Aria is a student from Royal Oak Intermediate in Auckland and a passionate musician and songwriter. She was a member of the New Zealand Ukulele Junior Squad in 2021 and 2022 and a winner of the nationwide Uke-Can-Do-It Songwriting Competition for 2022 and 2023, the first time anyone has won the competition twice.

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Performer: Talia Perkins (Age 12)

Song Title: Remember Me (Written by Talia Perkins)

Talia is a student of Taieri College in Otepoti/Dunedin and has been singing and performing from a very young age. Remember Me is a song about grief and saying goodbye to a good friend, Talia is a huge Jazz and Pop music fan and loves playing touch rugby and spending time with her family and friends.

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Performer: Tiahuia Wara (Age 12)

Song Title: Tāku hoa moa (Written by Tiahuia Wara)

West Auckland based Tiahuia is all about music, singing, and acting. She loves belting out tunes like "Let It Go" from Frozen and has snagged a spot in the kids' ensemble for Wizard of Oz at the Harlequin Theatre starting in April. A songwriting machine, Tāku hoa moa is Tiahuia’s sixth song she’s written – she’s especially proud of the part in the song about the cat. Meow!

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Performer: Iisha Harris (Age 11)

Song Title: For the Better (Written by Iisha Harris and Johnny Cummings)

Tauranga performer Iisha Harris has had lead roles in musical theatre, roles on TV and has won awards internationally, also she has been a guest speaker at a charity event for mental health and has been on a talk show. Iisha co-wrote this song as a way to deal with some tough times she faced, she wrote about how sometimes when things don't go the way you hoped, it can mean another opportunity can come along and sometimes it all works out "For the better". Everything she felt is in this song and she hopes it can help others.

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Performer: Lydia Clark (Age 10)

Song Title: Of Love We Are Made (Written by Lydia Clark and Finn Clark)

Lydia loves to sing and play ukulele and piano. She is also a keen roller-skater, dancer and painter. Lydia’s dreams are to one day become a professional singer who writes songs, bringing lots of joy to people around the world. And her journey has already started, she is in a choir and also performs gigs around her home town of Napier in her big brothers band.