Singer-songwriter Bic Runga and blues veteran Midge Marsden were recognized in New Zealand's New Years' Honours list, published Dec. 31. Both were awarded the NZ Order Of Merit medal for services to m

Singer-songwriter Bic Runga and blues veteran Midge Marsden were recognized in New Zealand's New Years' Honours list, published Dec. 31. Both were awarded the NZ Order Of Merit medal for services to music.

Runga (real name Briolette Kahbic Runga) in 1995 signed to Sony Music New Zealand as a 19-year old. She became the country's biggest-selling female artist when her debut album "Drive" (1996) sold more than 90,000 units (six times platinum). Runga saw her third studio album "Bird” reach double platinum (30,000 units) status a week after its Nov. 28, 2005 issue in New Zealand, according to Sony BMG Music Entertainment Australia. The album is set for release in Australia and Europe in the first half of 2006.

Marsden, whose 1990 album "Burning Rain" (Jayrem) achieved gold certification (7,500 copies), currently also teaches history of popular music at the Waikah Institute of Technology in Auckland.

Queen Elizabeth formally approves the accolades following recommedations from the prime minister.

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