Alternative Auckland rock group the Mint Chicks have cleaned up at the 2007 New Zealand Music Awards, outshining bigger-selling acts on their way to picking up four awards.
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The foursome - headed by brothers Kody and Ruban Nielson - beat Brooke Fraser, Hollie Smith, Evermore and Opshop to win the Album of the Year Tui for their highly acclaimed second album Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!
The Mint Chicks also took out awards for Best Group and Best Rock Album, while the video for the title song earned the clip's director Sam Peacocke a Tui for Best Video.
Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! was named last year's best album by critics at Stuff.co.nz.
Though trumped by The Mint Chicks for Album of the Year, all the other contenders won at least one other Tui at the awards ceremony in Auckland's Aotea Centre.
Wellington vocalist Hollie Smith, considered unlucky not to win single of the year in 2006 with Mt Raskil Preservation Society for the Don McGlashan-penned Bathe In The River, earned ample consolation this year with three awards.
She won the Best Female Solo Artist, Breakthrough Artist and Best Aotearoa-Roots Album awards for her work on her debut album Long Player.
Australian-based Feilding trio Evermore won the coveted Single of the Year award for Light Surrounding You and also took out the International Achievement Award.
Light Surrounding You earlier this year became the first song by a New Zealand artist to top the Australian singles charts for more than 10 years.
Opshop won the People's Choice Award, voted on by the public, while Fraser won the Highest Selling Album for Albertine and the Airplay award for her song Deciphering Me.
Two veteran male artists also earned Tuis.
Ex-Split Enz frontman Tim Finn was named Best Male Solo Artist for his album Imaginary Kingdom, while pioneering 1950s "New Zealand Elvis" Johnny Devlin won the Legacy Award.
There was a touch of poignancy when an album featuring remixes of landmark recordings by the late Hirini Melbourne, a pioneering Maori musician who died in 2003, and Richard Nunns won the Best Maori Album for Tui for Te Whaiao: Te Ku Te Whe Remixed.
The album featured remixes by SJD, Sola Rosa, Pitch Black, Salmonella Dub and Warren Maxwell of 1993 recordings by Melbourne and Richard Nunns, both major figures in the research, revival of knowledge and performance of traditional Maori instruments.
The Highest Selling Single Award went to Atlas for their song Crawl.
Other winners included PNC for Best Urban/Hip-hop Album, Shapeshifter for Best Dance/Electronica Album, Rapture Ruckus for best Gospel/Christian album and John Psathas for Best Classical Album.
Earlier in the evening the stars brought all the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood red carpet event to Auckland.
Rock bands OpShop and Evermore, singers Brooke Fraser and Hollie Smith, and hip-hop star Scribe were among those that walked the red carpet leading up to Auckland's Aotea Centre.
A slight drizzle of rain dampened proceedings, and a small crowd of fans, photographers and interviewers greeted stars as they arrived for the ceremony.
Kody Nielson, whose band the Mint Chicks is nominated for four awards, said: "I'm not expecting to win any, but I'd like to win the rock album."
Evermore said they were looking forward to performances by the Mint Chicks and Jon Toogood.
Rock band Goodnight Nurse were caught by a Stuff.co.nz film crew avoiding the red carpet and sneaking in a back entrance.
The show opened with a bizarre performance by the lycra-clad host Dai Henwood and the Vodafone cheerleading team, before rock act Atlas performed their hit single Crawl.
Other performers included Brooke Fraser, the Mint Chicks, Hollie Smith and Evermore.
- © Fairfax NZ News