Photo courtesy of Braden Fastier

Joel Haines is a multi-talented musician and composer who discovered his passion for music at the tender age of four and embarked on his professional career at just 14 years old. With a diverse repertoire spanning films, TV commercials, various media projects, and some of New Zealand’s most popular TV shows like ‘Outrageous Fortune,’ ‘Westside,’ ‘The Brokenwood Mysteries,’ and ‘My Life is Murder,’ Joel has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.

As a musician, Joel has lent his exceptional skills to numerous renowned artists, including Maisey Rika, Whirimako Black, Annie Crummer, Hinewehi Mohi, Cairo Knife Fight, The Straw People, Che Fu, Rikki Morris, The Human Instinct, The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and Marlena Shaw, as well as his brother, jazz musician Nathan Haines.

In his late teens, Joel began working as a session guitarist for the legendary composers Murray Grindlay and Murray Mcnabb, igniting his love for composing music to accompany visuals. After learning from these prolific talents, he embarked on his own journey in composing for film and television.

Joel’s big break came when he landed the coveted role of composer for the South Pacific Pictures TV series ‘Mercy Peak,’ marking the beginning of an enduring 20-plus-year relationship with the company and earning him his first nomination for Best Original Music at the TV awards.

His work on the feature film ‘This Way of Life’ garnered international acclaim, with screenings at prestigious film festivals in Sydney, London, Seattle, Iowa, Palm Springs, Vancouver, and Berlin.

Joel’s exceptional talent has been recognized with numerous accolades, including the 2023 award for Best Contribution to a Soundtrack for ‘The Brokenwood Mysteries’ and the 2020 Best Original Score award with Tihema Bennet for ‘In Dark Places’ at the Latitude Film Awards, where the film also won Best Feature Film.

Other notable nominations include Best Original Score for ‘In Dark Places’ at the 2019 Huawei Mate30 Pro New Zealand Television Awards, Best Original Music for ‘Strongman – The Tragedy’ at the 2012 New Zealand Television Awards, Best Original Music for ‘Outrageous Fortune’ at the 2007 Air New Zealand Screen Awards, and Best Original Music for ‘Mercy Peak’ at the 2002 TV Guide New Zealand Television Awards.

In 2020, Joel scored the acclaimed feature documentary ‘No Maori Allowed,’ which won the Grand Prix du Jury at the FIFO Festival International du Film Documentaire Oceanian, Best Documentary at the New Zealand TV Awards, the Pacifica Award for Best Feature Film at the Hawai’i International Film Festival, and Best Documentary Short at the Dili International Film Festival.

Joel’s musical prowess shines through in his work on the hit drama ‘Westside,’ where he scored all 52 episodes, earning numerous accolades, including Best Drama at the New York Festivals International Film & TV Awards 2016, Bronze Medal at the 2018 New York International Film and TV Awards for Drama, Silver Medal at the New York Festivals Film and TV Awards 2019, and a finalist spot for Best Returning Drama at the C21 International Drama Awards, as well as Best Drama at the NZTV Awards 2018.

For the past decade, Joel has composed the score for ‘The Brokenwood Mysteries,’ a critically acclaimed series that has won several honors, including Bronze Medal at the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards 2015, Silver Medal at the New York Film and TV Awards 2018 for Television – Entertainment Special: Mini-Series, Silver Medal at the New York Festivals Film and TV Awards 2019 for Television – Entertainment Special: Mini-Series, and Bronze Medal at the New York TV & Film Awards 2023 for Entertainment Program, Crime Drama.