Demystifying the Aotearoa Music Awards: A Comprehensive Guide

Prepare for the imminent arrival of the 2024 Aotearoa Music Awards, as Te Marama Puoro o Aotearoa (New Zealand Music Month) draws to a close. Here’s your complete guide to what awaits on this exciting night.

What are the Aotearoa Music Awards?

The Aotearoa Music Awards (AMA) is an annual event that serves as a showcase for the music industry, celebrating the talents and sounds of Aotearoa. Organized by Recorded Music NZ, these awards have been a staple since 1965. They spotlight the year’s greatest musical achievements, elevate emerging artists, and acknowledge the efforts of those working behind the scenes.

How do you pronounce AMA?

Pronounced akin to “drama” or “llama,” the acronym AMA corresponds with the te reo Māori term ‘ama,’ which refers to the outrigger of a waka (canoe).

Who will be attending? Expect to see some of New Zealand’s most prominent music figures grace the red carpet. Finalists include renowned artists like Stan Walker, Aaradhna, Marlon Williams, Home Brew, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, L.A.B, and The Beths. The awards ceremony will be hosted by broadcasters Kara Rickard and Jesse Mulligan. Notable personalities from various fields, such as sports, politics, and media, often attend. Past attendees have included MMA fighter Israel Adesanya and former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Can I secure tickets?

Tickets for the general public are not available, but fret not! You can catch the entire ceremony online. The Aotearoa Music Awards will be livestreamed via RNZ on, as well as on the RNZ Music YouTube and Facebook channels. Tune in starting at 6 PM on Thursday, 30 May, broadcasting live from Viaduct Events Centre, Auckland.

Who’s worth watching?

Aotearoa boasts an abundance of musical talent, from established names like Stan Walker and Marlon Williams to emerging stars like Jordyn with a Why. Keep an eye out for rising talents across various genres, including teo glacier (RnB), Amamelia (electronic), Kaylee Bell (country), and Coterie (roots), showcasing the diversity and strength of New Zealand’s music scene.

Who determines the winners?

Album and Single of the Year, Best Group, and Best Solo Artist are adjudicated by the AMA Judging Academy, comprising over 300 artists and industry experts. Specialized panels vote on genre-specific categories, while Breakthrough and other awards are selected by in-person panels or based on data. The People’s Choice Award is solely decided by public vote, open to fans worldwide until midnight on Tuesday, 28 May (NZT).

What do winners receive? AMA winners earn the distinction of holding a handcrafted Tūī trophy, crafted this year from totara wood, along with the coveted title of AMA award winner. Additionally, the Breakthrough Artist award, presented by Radio BurgerFuel, comes with a special perk: free BurgerFuel for the remainder of 2024.

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