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Award Rules, Conditions, Aims & Vision

  • Aims, Vision & Mission
  • Award Categories
  • Rules & Eligibility
  • Conditions of Entry
  • How To Enter
  • Judging
  • Originality

The Waiata Māori Music Awards seeks to develop, encourage and honour the achievements of outstanding traditional and contemporary musical compositions and performances annually.

THE MANDATE of the Waiata Māori Music Awards is to produce and maintain a music competition that is open to all Māori music industry professionals i.e. all composers and artists.

OUR AIM is to have all entries secretly judged in a non-biased way by active members of the Māori music industry and audited by a chartered accountant.

OUR VISION is to produce a gala awards ceremony that will focus on the diversity and excellence of Māori Music in Aotearoa (New Zealand) featuring performances by current, or past finalists, and winners.

THE MISSION of the Waiata Māori Music Awards is to acknowledge and honour the keepers, teachers, promoters, creators and performers of Māori music; to continue to develop and promote the diversity of all Māori music; to showcase and celebrate the excellence of Māori music; to recognise the unique vision of Māori composers and musicians; and to enrich this rich cultural voice.




Award Categories for this year's  Waiata Māori Music Awards are:

Best Māori Traditional Album (Te Reo Māori)
Best Māori Urban RAP/Hip Hop/RnB Album
Best Māori Urban Roots Album
Best Māori Pop Album
Best Māori Male Solo Artist
Best Māori Female Solo Artist
Best Song By a Māori Artist
Best Māori Music Video
Best Māori Songwriter

Determined by NZ On Air

Radio Airplay Record of the Year by a Māori Artist



Only recordings released in New Zealand during the period from July last year through to July this year are eligible.

2. Release date is defined as the date the recording was officially available for sale.

3. Entry into Best Māori Traditional Album (Te Reo Māori), Best Māori Urban RAP/Hip Hop/RnB Album, Best Māori Urban Roots Album, Best Māori Pop Album, Best Māori Male Solo Artist, Best Māori Female Solo Artist, Best Māori Song and Best Māori Songwriter would not affect entry into the New Zealand Music Awards – The Tuis.

4. Multi-artist compilations are not eligible.

5. All recordings must be available for sale.

6. Re-released recordings are not eligible.

7. Previously entered material will not be accepted unless previously entered category did not qualify due to lack of entries. Where categories lack sufficient entries; submissions will be carried over into the subsequent Awards round.

8. Where the entered release comprises more than one disc, the disc must be sold only as ‘one set’ to qualify.

9. An album constitutes recordings (or a recording) totalling not less than 30 minutes duration.

10. Any entry not conforming to proper copyright licensing conditions i.e. any clearances or permission required from copyright owners, APRA/AMCOS or PPNZ/RIANZ will be disqualified.

11. The Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust and RIANZ are to be indemnified from any subsequent action that may be directed against the Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust, RIANZ or APRA should any entries be found to not conform to normal copyright licensing conditions.

12. All entries will be reviewed for eligibility by the Eligibility Sub-committee of the Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust, which reserves the right to make final judgment on category, artist and product eligibility. The Eligibility Sub-committee will provide notice citing reasons for any entries being deemed ineligible. The entrant will have five (5) days from such notice to respond, at which time the Eligibility Sub-committee will review the entry and make a final decision.

Entry is free and is open to all New Zealand Māori Music composers and artists. Lyrics can be in English or Te Reo Māori. Artists must be Māori by birth, adoption or community acceptance.

2. All nominees: must be New Zealand citizens (by birth or citizenship) OR have been granted permanent residency in New Zealand

3. A group or duo will be considered Māori if the person or persons who are the leading creative force are members of the Māori community as set out above.

4. All entered materials must have been recorded within two years prior to the deadline. To be eligible for the 2018 competition, entries must have been recorded, produced and distributed for public sale from July 2017 to June 2018.

5. For a category to qualify there needs to be a minimum of three (3) entries. If there are less than 3 entries, it is at the discretion of Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust to decide whether or not that category goes forward.

6. No demo tapes will be accepted. All entered materials must be commercially accessible, whether it be retail, on the internet, at Māori events or festivals, by Arts & Crafts vendors or by phone or mail order.

7. All entered materials, must be original – written or purchased by the entered artist.

8. All compact discs and support material received will become the property of Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust and will not be returned.

9. All submissions must be received by 5:00pm Friday, 13 July 2018.

10. The official entry form must be signed by the nominating company or person acknowledging they have fully read and complied with the terms and conditions of entry.

Please complete and return the Waiata Māori Music Awards Official Entry form.

2. Nominations must be accompanied by two (2) copies of the completed official entry form, two (2) copies of recorded material on compact disc and video (if possible), and two (2) copies of lyrics with English translations if composition is in Te Reo Māori.

3. One photograph of the composer/artist(s) in a jpeg file format. NB: It may be pertinent to include photography of both the composer and artist for compositions submitted.

4. One copy of biography of composer/artist(s) in a word document format. Biographies and photographs are kept by Waiata Māori Awards Trust and will be used as required for promotional purposes.

5. Two letters of reference from home, community (urban or iwi) affirming that the composer/artist(s) is Māori.Letters of reference are kept on file with the Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust.

6. It is important for the success of the event that nominees are available to attend the awards presentation. Nominees are required to meet all costs (accommodation, transport, etc.) for their personnel and whānau to attend the Waiata Māori Music Awards presentation.

7. All nominees agree to accept the decision of the judges as final. Under no circumstances will correspondence be entered into with entrants, or any other person, or any interviews granted in respect of judging decisions. All publicity in respect of the awards shall be the prerogative of the Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust. Any entries shall constitute full acceptance of these conditions. These conditions will be the basis for the terms of reference of the judging panel.

8. Anyone found lobbying the panelist for their votes will have their entries disqualified.

9. All nominees permit the Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust and any person the Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust authorises to the performance of the works entered, as part of the Waiata Māori Awards presentation and to record it for those purposes.

10. All nominees permit the Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust and any person the Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust authorises to the performance of the works entered, as part of the Waiata Māori Music Awards presentation and to record it for those purposes.

11. Final entry is at the absolute discretion of the Eligibility Sub-committee of the Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust.

12. The Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust must receive all entries, signed by 5.00pm Friday, 13 July 2018.


1. The judges will be asked to consider a number of elements in the judging process.

2. Emphasis will be placed on artistic merit, use of Te Reo Māori language, lyric content, originality and ethnicity.

3. The Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust selects the judging panel and the identity of the panellists will remain confidential.

4. All panellists are required to submit their decisions independently to the Awards Administrator.



All Music submitted to the Awards must have at least 60% original songs/tracks.

The following is an example:

No. of Songs  No. of originals   No. of Songs No. of originals
25 15   12 7
24 14   11 7
23 14   10 6
22 13   9 5
21 12   8 5
20 12   7 4
19 11   6 4
18 11   5 3
17 10   4 2
16 10   3 2
15 9   2 1
14 8   1 1
13 8      

Communicate With Us

+64 6 873 0041
Waiata Māori Awards Trust
706 Albert Street, Hastings
New Zealand 4144