R&B singer and TV personality Stan Walker (Tūhoe/Ngāti Tūwharetoa) was born in Melbourne but raised in New Zealand. After moving back across the Tasman, he won Australian Idol in 2009 and launched a music career which has included a chart-topping album (From The Inside Out) and single (‘Black Box’), plus multiple NZ Music Awards. In 2013, Walker he helped judge the first series of X Factor NZ and made his film debut as star of box office hit Mt Zion — playing a potato picker with dreams of supporting Bob Marley. 2014 saw the release of ensemble te reo single 'Aotearoa'.
Te reo single ‘Aotearoa’ features contributions from talents Stan Walker, songwriter/producer Vince Harder, and singers Troy Kingi (Mt Zion) and Ria Hall. Maisey Rika also chimes in late in the track, with lines in te reo from the national anthem. 'Aotearoa' began after Mātai Smith (producer of Māori language show Pūkana) approached Walker with the idea of creating a hit song in te reo. Te Haumihiata Mason, who translated the lyrics into Māori, argues that the song “encourages us to nurture each other and to persevere with whatever it is we aspire to, no matter where we come from”.
Stan Walker added to an impressive record of success when he collaborated with Ginny Blackmore for 2014 duet ‘Holding You’. The power ballad became the second Kiwi chart-topper for both artists, following Walker's 2009 debut ‘Black Box’, and Blackmore’s widely played ‘Bones’. Both artists had already made a mark overseas: Melbourne-born, NZ-raised Walker signed with Sony Music Australia after winning Australian Idol in 2009; Blackmore had signed a publishing deal while living in London.
This collection rounds up almost every music video for a number one hit by a Kiwi artist; everything from ballads to hip hop to glam rock. Press on the images below to find the hits for each decade — plus try this backgrounder by Michael Higgins, whose high speed history of local hits touches on the sometimes questionable ways past charts were created.
‘Black Box’ was the winning song for Australian Idol victor Stan Walker. His first music video was shot in Sydney two days after his triumph. It's set at a mansion poolside party, with Idol finalists and family members among the extras. The black box in question might hold the records of a romantic crash, not an aviation disaster, but this recriminatory look back at a failed relationship brought sweet success for Walker. It spent 10 consecutive weeks at the top of the New Zealand singles chart, and won four Tuis at the 2010 NZ Music Awards.
In this colourful video Australian Idol victor Stan Walker works his wardrobe and dance moves at the bottom of Auckland's Point Erin Pool, with help from singer (and aunt!) Ria Hall. Director Shae Stirling doubles up the action, thanks to copious use of split screen. Copy written for the video's premiere on website Stuff describes the song as being about knowing that a relationship is over, but trying to keep it going regardless. In the same year Walker made his big screen debut in hit movie Mt Zion, judged The X Factor NZ and opened onstage for Beyoncé.
Australian Idol winner Stan Walker made his acting debut in Tearepa Kahi’s feature film Mt Zion, as a potato picker from Pukekohe who dreams of supporting his idol Bob Marley at Marley's 1979 Auckland concert. This song from the film’s soundtrack combines Mt Zion’s reggae sounds with Walker’s more R’n’B/soul style. The video mixes scenes from the film with a performance from Walker (displaying the tattoos that were deemed too modern for a period piece, and had to be covered up for the movie).
Inspired by the legend of Ranginui and Papatuanuku — and two attractive singers — director Jessica Sanderson pulls out the stops with this video, which features galaxies, moons, and the circling star wattage of Stan Walker and Ginny Blackmore. Stan and Ginny play lovers who can’t exist in the same space without the potential for havoc, with Walker representing water and earth and Wigmore the sky. Co-written by the two artists, ‘Holding You’ became a number one hit in New Zealand, and was the most downloaded song on local iTunes on its first morning of release.
Launched for 2014's Māori Language Week, the NZ Music Award-nominated video for 'Aotearoa' is a showcase of Kiwi scenery and musical talent, led by main vocalist Stan Walker. 'Aotearoa' began when TV producer Mātai Smith, aware 1983’s 'Poi-E' was the last te reo song to hit number one, thought it might be nice to repeat the feat (in the end he had to settle for number two). Walker wrote the track with his Mt Zion co-star Troy Kingi and singers Vince Harder and Ria Hall. Hall calls the result “a song to celebrate our nation, our landscape, our uniqueness, our language and our people”.
Two presenters are tricked into visiting Rotorua in the fourth series of Māori youth magazine show I AM TV. Host Taupunakohe Tocker excitedly tells Kimo Holtham and Chey Milne they are being sent to Las Vegas, but instead they end up in 'Rotovegas'. Holtham and Milne tour around Rotorua diving for coins at Whakarewarewa Village, eating corn cooked in geothermal water, and meeting locals, including musician JJ Rika. Tocker interviews Tiki Taane and ropes pedestrians in to do air guitar, while Stan Walker shows what it's like backstage at his Auckland concert.