Haley Grace-Hollis − 3rd prize, most votes

The tragic loss of four whānau to suicide inspired Voter Favourite and third place winner of the E Tū Whānau 2018 Song Competition, Haley Grace-Hollis to write ‘Hold On’. Her song a passionate plea to anyone vulnerable to suicide to stay with us and remember that they are loved by many.

It’s a message, she says, that far too many people need to hear.

“It seems that everyone has been affected by suicide. They’ve lost someone in their own whānau or they’re supporting someone who has lost a loved one to suicide.”

Haley won $1000 for coming third in the 2018 Song Competition and another $2000 for attracting the most public votes.

Haley, who has three children, the youngest is just three months old, is training to be a counsellor so that she can be part of the network that people with all kinds of mental health issues need in order to thrive.

Love of music

Music is another great love and a big part of her life.

She’s into kapa haka, loves singing with whānau on the marae, and laughingly calls her guitar her ‘best friend’.

She comes originally from Ruatoria, home to last year’s winners East Coast Breevas.

“I’m a great friend and supporter of that band and kept getting links about the competition from friends, all encouraging me to enter. I’m so glad I did.

“I really love the E Tū Whānau kaupapa. It’s given us all a platform to share our music and the ideas that inspire them, with the whole of Aotearoa and the whole world.”

Delia Harrison and Iwasa Pohatu composed the music with Haley while Haley wrote the lyrics. She worked with Gabrielle Tamihana to make the video, a collage of messages of aroha from all kinds of people to whānau in distress.

Read about the first prize winner here