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Ardijah vocalist wins New Year honour

Wednesday 4 January 2023 | Written by Cameron Scott | Published in Entertainment, Local, National

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Ardijah vocalist wins New Year honour
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.