Recorded Music New Zealand announce nominations are now open for the 56th New Zealand Music Awards | Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa.

Damian Vaughan, Recorded Music New Zealand CEO, says it’s more important than ever to celebrate the incredible music coming out of Aotearoa.

“COVID-19 has devastated our local music scene and it’s no secret that many of our musicians, our artists and songwriters and the many workers and organisations who support them are all struggling.

“In November we intend to not only honour and celebrate the spectacular music released over the past year but also shine a light on the vital work of MusicHelps and the many initiatives throughout Aotearoa that use the power of music to unite and heal communities”.

Nomination details can be found at Unless otherwise specified, awards are open to New Zealand artists who have had recordings commercially released between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020. Nominations stay open until 5pm on 7 August 2020.


Mana Reo Award

The NZ Music Awards continues its dedication to the promotion of Te Reo Māori as an ordinary means of communication and a living language, and we are pleased to announce the reintroduction of the Mana Reo award in 2020.

Supported by our artists, our music community and Te Mangai Paho, the Mana Reo award recognises albums, singles or live performances with at least 50% Te Reo content.

Sarah Owen, Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa says Te Reo Māori should be viewed as a cornerstone of our culture, giving all NZ’ers access to Te Ao Māori, and to Māori world views.

“Te Reo’s presence in the daily life of Aotearoa should no longer be limited to place names and key phrases, and the situation today indicates that the future is positive.

“We only have to look at the success of 2019’s Waiata Anthems and Six60’s arena wide sing alongs to ‘Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō’ to see Te Reo’s impact on our music industry.  It is time we celebrated this.”

Alongside the Mana Reo award, the New Zealand Music Awards | Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa will continue to present the Best Māori Artist | Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa.

2020 categories

The Tui presented at the 2020 New Zealand Music Awards | Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa will be:

  • Te Pukaemi o te Tau | Album of The Year
  • Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year
  • Te Roopu Toa | Best Group
  • Te Kaipuoro Takitahi Toa | Best Solo Artist
  • Te Kaituhura Puoro Toa o te Tau | Breakthrough Artist of the Year
  • Te Kaipuoro Rakapioi Toa | Best Rock Artist
  • Te Kaipuoro Arotini Toa | Best Pop Artist
  • Te Kaipuoro Manohi Toa | Best Alternative Artist
  • Te Kaipuoro Awe Toa | Best Soul/RnB Artist
  • Te Kaipuoro Hipihope Toa | Best Hip Hop Artist
  • Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Roots Artist
  • Te Kaipuoro Tāhiko Toa | Best Electronic Artist
  • Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa | Best Māori Artist
  • Mana Reo Award
  • Te Kaipuoro Kairangi Toa | Best Worship Artist
  • Te Kaipuoro Inamata Toa | Best Classical Artist
  • Te Pukaemi Hoko Teitei | Highest Selling Album
  • Te Toa Hoko Teitei | Highest Selling Artist
  • Te Rikoata Marakerake o te Tau | Radio Airplay Record of the Year |
  • Tohu Tutuki o te Ao | International Achievement
  • Tohu Whakareretanga | Legacy Award
  • Te Kōwhiri o te Nuinga People’s Choice

The Artisan Awards will also return in 2020, presented by Massey University. They will feature awards for Te Kaiwhakaputa Toa | Best Producer, Te Kaipukaha Toa | Best Engineer, Te Toi Ataata Pukaemi | Best Album Artwork, Te Puoro Ataata Toa | Best Music Video and the Recorded Music NZ Manager of the Year | Kaiwhakahaere Puoro o te Tau award (presented by the Music Managers Forum). The Music Teacher of the Year | Kaiārahi Puoro o te Tau award is presented biennially with the next winner being selected in 2021.

Other ngā Tui presented during the year include those for best artists in Te Kaipuoro Tuawhenua Toa | Best Country Music Artist, Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Folk Artist, Te Kaipuoro Tautito Toa | Best Jazz Artist, Te Pukaemi Toa o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa | Best Pacific Music Album and Te Kaipuoro Waiata Tamariki Toa | Best Children’s Music Artist. These winners will also be acknowledged at the 2020 New Zealand Music Awards ceremony.

New direction

Recorded Music NZ also confirms the New Zealand Music Awards and Vodafone have agreed to part ways, ending a 15-year partnership celebrating the New Zealand music industry’s most outstanding achievements.

“We’d like to thank Vodafone for all its support over the past 15 years, it’s been a pleasure working alongside their team as we honoured the very best of New Zealand music,” says Vaughan.

Full Terms and Conditions for the 2020 NZ Music Awards can be found HERE

To enter your nomination/s for the NZ Music Awards please click here

For any questions regarding the nominations process please contact Sarah Owen at

To be eligible for judging, all nominations including any accompanying material must be received and confirmed as correct by 5pm, Friday 7 August 2019.