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Last updated 12:10, September 7 2017


Grove Roots founder Noel Woods says his band is all about nurturing new talent and normalising te reo Māori.

The Lower Hutt band has been nominated for four awards at the 2017 Waiata Māori Music Awards which will be held in Hastings on September 15.

Woods said it was great to be recognised along side other musicians who were passionate about promoting te reo. Grove Roots are finalists in the Best Māori Traditional album, Best Māori Urban Roots/Reggae Album, Best Song by a Māori Artist and Best Māori Songwriter categories.

He said it would be great to come away with an award or two but the band was up against some very good musicians.

"We're up against some stiff competition. [The other nominated artists] are leading the way for Māori Music. We might just be going up there for a free feed."

Despite having been around since 2005, Grove Roots have only recently released their first album, Hikoikoi. The band has had two number one singles, Tau Hou Maori and Te Kura, on the Māori music charts this year.

Woods, the drummer, writes most of the songs and produces the music himself. He is the only founding member still active in the band.

A rotating roster of musicians play in the band and Woods thought about 45 people had been involved over the years. "It's like a community or waka. People can jump on and off when they like. They can go and do their own thing whenever they like. We nurture up and coming artists and keep them safe."

Most of Grove Roots' songs are sung in te reo and they play a mix of hip-hop, reggae, rhythm and blues, and soul. Woods sees the band as a small part of a greater movement to promote te reo and has big ambitions for the future.

"We want to normalise Māori music so people aren't afraid to play it loud. We want to take Māori music to the world!"

He eventually wants to add elements of kapa haka and theatre to the music and could see Grove Roots performing at festivals such as WOMAD.