A trio of budding young musicians from South Auckland are the big winners in this year’s Unitec Pacific Songwriting Competition.

Otahuhu College group TIMtrio comprising students: Teejay Nanai, Seira Tuimaseve Gasu, Melevesi Finau wowed the judges with their catchy Samoan and Tongan tune Oso le la (The Sun is Rising), which also took out the coveted People’s Choice Award after receiving the most views on YouTube.

Ose le la is an uplifting original work with a positive message.

“This song is about a brighter day and a reminder to anyone with struggles that regardless of the situation, like the lyrics say: ‘Just put your head up, because it’s a brand new day’,” explains the group.

TIMtrio will share the main prizes of a $1000 music voucher and a guitar valued at $500 sponsored by Music Planet. They will also receive a free professional video recording of their song.

Runner up was Manurewa High School student Sonatane Kaufusi for his Tongan song Ma’alahi which challenged Pacific people to be proud of their cultural identity and not hide from it. Kaufusi won a $600 music voucher.

Niuean entrant Vincent Togiavale was placed third for his song Niue Fekai. Togiavale won a $400 music voucher.

“The lyrics describe a place that I’ve heard of from my grandparents as well as my mother who were born and raised there. I made this song to encourage other Niueans born overseas to go back and visit the motherland,” he explains.

Unitec music tutor and Kiwi musician Age Pryor, who was one of the judges, praised the quality of this year’s entries.

“We received a lot of excellent entries, and the winners stood out as exceptional – awesome spirit, fantastic musicality, and brimming with creative ideas. Full credit to everyone who participated. Keep on writing those songs!”

This is the second year of the competition run by Unitec which celebrates the seven official Pacific languages in New Zealand through music, education and cultural engagement

View the songs here.