Pukana Launches Teen Talent Search

Star Search discovered Justin Timberlake, the X-Factor found Leona Lewis and the Eurovision Song Contest made Abba – now pioneering Māori language children’s programme PŪKANA wants to provide rangatahi with a similar opportunity!

Following a new season launch on Māori Television in February, PŪKANA seeks five talented singers from around the country to form a pop band.

The preliminary round begins this month (September 2011) with auditions in Palmerston North, Gisborne, Christchurch, Whangārei, Auckland and Rotorua. Details are available on the PŪKANA website: www.pukana.co.nz.

Producer Pania Papa says the PŪKANA team is searching the nation for talented singers 13 – 16 years old who can sing in te reo Māori for a new competition called ‘Uru Whetū’.

Papa says the auditions will produce a rangatahi pop group similar to ‘Aaria’. Formed in November 2000, Aaria found quick success after a nationwide search for talented, positive young Māori role models who could sing as well as converse in te reo Māori.

By 2001, the group had two New Zealand singles and both reached the top 20. ‘Kei A Wai Ra Te Kupu’ stayed on the charts for 12 weeks, peaking at 14, while ‘Cry No More’ lasted four weeks and peaked at seven.

“The five selected youth will be brought to Auckland for a week of bonding, vocal coaching, rehearsing, choreography and styling with a view to recording a single and filming a video clip for release.”

PŪKANA is the work of Auckland-based Cinco Cine Film Productions – an award-winning independent film and television production company with a commitment to engage and train young Māori to write, present and produce television.

Originally called ‘TUMEKE’, the show won a Qantas Media Award in 2003 and the TV Guide New Zealand Television Award in 1999 for best children’s programme – the first time a show entirely in Māori has taken out the mainstream award.

PŪKANA screens on Maori Television every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 6.00 PM as well as on Te Reo every weekday at 7.00 PM and TV3 every Sunday at 8.45 AM.

For more information including images and interviews, contact PŪKANA publicist Vanessa Bidois on +64 21 928 007 or email vanessa.bidois@gmail.com.

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