Entry is open to all eligible NZ recording artists who meet the Eligibility Criteria as set out in the Terms & Conditions of Entry. 2022 nominations open Monday 27th June and close 5pm Friday 5th August.

The entry process is completed online via a separate Aotearoa Music Awards nominations and judging site. Artists are to be nominated via their record label, or if an artist is independent (unsigned), they can nominate themselves.

A fee of $20.00 +GST is payable per artist per category entered. The 2022 terms & conditions can be found here, alongside the Statement of Expectations


The New Zealand music industry is growing in diversity.  The range of genres has increased in recent years keeping up with the changes in New Zealand society and new musical influences. The judging criteria of all the major global music awards are likewise moving in the same direction. The judging of the Aotearoa Music Awards reflect all these factors.

There two main types of judging, the Voting Academy and the Voting Schools.

Five categories are judged by the Voting Academy, which consists of more than 200 representatives from various sectors of the music industry (radio, press, TV, online media, previous winners, retailers, promoters and the like).

The Voting Academy judges Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group, Best Solo Artist, Breakthrough Artist of the Year.

Additionally, a sales performance weighting of 30% is factored into the judging process for the following categories only: Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group, and Best Solo Artist.

Categories judged by Voting Schools, comprising of expert representatives from the relevant genre or sector of music: Best Maori Artist, Mana Reo, Best Classical Artist, Best Rock Artist, Best Pop Artist, Best Alternative Artist, Best Hip Hip Artist, Best RnB/Soul Artist, Best Roots Artists,  and Best Electronic Artist, Best Country Music Artist and the Artisan Award categories Best Producer, Best Engineer, Best Music Video Content and Best Album Artwork which are presented at the Artisan Awards, also in November. Voting Schools also judge Best Folk Artist, Best Jazz Artist, Best Pacific Music Album, and Best Children’s Music Artist, which are awarded at separate functions throughout the year.

Voting Schools consist of an optimum of ten representatives (but no less than five representatives) from that genre or sector of music.

Two categories are judged or allocated by the Recorded Music NZ board – International Achievement Award, and the Aotearoa Music Hall of Fame. These awards are presented at the Board’s discretion.

ADDITIONAL CATEGORIES (nominations not accepted)
No finalists are announced for the Highest Selling NZ Artist and Radio Airplay Record of the Year Awards. The winners of these awards are determined by sales data supplied by the Official New Zealand Top 40 charts compiler.

All artists nominated within the given eligibility period who become finalists for that year’s awards are put forward for the People’s Choice award. Voting is then open to the public to determine the winner.