Words Mike Beck

It might be little confusing, & somewhat easy to associate this local music documentary with the controversial police dawn raids of the 1970’s. That’s a good thing. The 1st-hand experience & adversity to turn pain into a positive from race-relation wounds, was the catalyst for the creation of NZ’s first significant hip-hop music label. Cue title.

Coupled with a love of urban music genres/culture, as well as entrepreneurial flair & a dream; South Auckland schoolmates ‘Brotha D’ (Danny Leaosavai’i) & Andy Murnane joined forces in the late 90’s, & formulated a plan to nurture a stable of musical acts that could represent at large. The DIY acumen would see the young men raise enough funds in unconventional ways to launch the Dawn Raid music label. The ethos would also expand the project to give back by way of keeping youth out of trouble & schooling them about ‘the biz.’

You know the artists; Adeaze, Deceptikonz, Aaradhna, Mareko, Savage etc. The acts keep coming & are all included here. There are some break-throughs internationally, & hook-ups with the likes of Wu Tang Clan band members & stateside success.

In the director’s chair, Oscar Kightley makes all the right moves. Along with writer/editor Tim Woodhouse, they’ve inserted bro’Town inspired animation to recount back-story, well-juxtaposed editing that ensures laughs throughout, excellent content choices, as well as moulding an emotional & cohesive narrative arc.

For its charming grassroots tale, creative storytelling, the wrapping of high’s & lows in humour, genuine affection for the subjects & subject matter, Dawn Raid checks in as one of the finest NZ music docos to date. Do the right thing; refrain from cheeky downloads & ‘swing’ by to your local cinema to see it!