11 Aug 2023

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .


A moody, glamourous shot of Lady Shaka, a Pasifika woman, wearing gloves and a suit with blue eyemakeup
Image: Lady-Shaka.com

DJ and interdisciplinary artist Lady Shaka is the 2023 recipient of the Creative New Zealand Arts Culture and Creativity award, announced at the Pacific Music Awards on Wednesday. 

This award acknowledges a Pacific artist creating innovative, genre-bending, contemporary music and is accompanied by a financial prize to further support their career.

Lady Shaka is of Samoan, Tokelauan, Māori, Tahitian, and Cape Verdean descent, originally from Aotearoa and currently based in London. An in-demand DJ with rapidly growing global reach, her musical selection is a representation of both her queer identity as a fem queen and her connection to the moana.

She was one of the first Pacific Islanders to DJ on the Boiler Room TV platform, and in 2019 she founded Pulotu Underworld, London’s only club night celebrating Pacific Island music, culture and artistry in the United Kingdom.

Through a pre-recorded Zoom acceptance speech, Lady Shaka dedicated her award to her loved ones and her community.

“As a trans woman of colour, it is an honour and a blessing to be celebrated by Creative New Zealand and the Pacific Music Awards,” she said.

“To all our young fa'afafine, fa’afatama, māhū, fakaleitī, our non-binary kids, our queer kids – I want you to know you are your ancestors' wildest dreams, so continue living your best lives.”

This is the second year we’ve supported this award through our Pacific Arts Strategy. The 2022 inaugural winners were Pasifika heavy metal band Shepherd's Reign.

Speaking at the event on Wednesday, Caren Rangi, Chair of the Arts Council, said Creative New Zealand were proud to support Lady Shaka with this award.

“We understand how important these awards are to our artists and our music community,” she said.

“Lady Shaka is part of a new generation of young Pacific artists who aim to re-indigenise and challenge the mainstream with music and art that is cultural, ancestral and representative of the Pasifika experience.”

The Pacific Music Awards are an annual New Zealand music award ceremony that has been running since 2005, honouring excellence in Pacific music in New Zealand.

Watch the recorded livestream of the entire 2023 event, here.

Check out Lady Shaka’s website here.