Betty-Anne Monga performs at last year’s revamped Pasifika Festival which took place over a month earlier in 2022. Picture: NZ Herald/22123011
After decades of success in New Zealand’s entertainment industry, Ardijah vocalist Betty Anne Maryrose Monga has been recognised in the 2023 New Year’s honours list, with a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music.
Having now spent more than four decades in
the entertainment business, Monga was just 15 when she joined the band Ardijah
after Cook Islander-NZ Maori Ryan Morgan spotted her at a talent quest where
the band was also competing. Neither of their acts won the contest (the winners
were Jay Laga'aia and his band), but the pair went on to marry.
By the mid-80s, Ardijah, which had earlier been
mostly a cover band, were busy writing their own songs. Their "Poly
Fonk" sound established itself firmly on NZ’s airwaves, along with popular
tracks including “Time Makes a Wine”, “Jammin” and “Watchin' U”. Numerous
critically-acclaimed albums followed, in spite of the band’s ever-changing
lineup of performers.
In 2019, the band celebrated its 40th
anniversary as one of Aotearoa's most enduring and beloved bands. And after many
years in the music industry, Monga continues to inspire new talent – and is
still a regular on the performing scene.
She is one of 24 Pacifika to receive New
Year honours in this year’s list.
The Queens Service Medal for services to
the Cook Islands and Pacific communities was awarded to Teurukua Tia Kekena.