The Taite Prize (New Zealand's equivalent of the Mercury Prize) was awarded at a ceremony in Auckland last night, and it went to Unknown Mortal Orchestra for their inventive self-titled debut album.

The three piece (who are led by Ruban Nielson, previously of The Mint Chicks) accepted the award via video, as they're currently based in Portland.

"It's a bit of a cliche, but I was just making the record for myself" Nielson told TimeOut last year when reflecting on the boundary-pushing indie pop album. "I had a lot of mental space to work in. No one was waiting for me to make music, I really just came back to making music for myself and making music for all the right reasons."

The prize, which includes $10,000 cash from PPNZ Music Licensing, and is named after late television music journalist Dylan Taite, is awarded for artistic merit, and is decided by a panel of industry judges.


It has previously been awarded to soul singer Ladi6 (aka Karoline Tamati), and indie pop crooner Lawrence Arabia (aka James Milne).

The other finalists this year were chamber-pop maestro Andrew Keoghan for his debut Arctic Tales Divide; Wellington metallers Beastwars for their self-titled debut; hip-hop star David Dallas for sophomore album The Rose Tint; She's So Rad (aka multi-talented Jeremy Toy) for his solo debut of dreamy fuzzpop In Circles; Tiny Ruins (aka songstress Hollie Fullbrook) for her delicate debut, Some Were Meant For Sea; and Flying Nun perennials The Bats for umpteenth album and acclaimed return-to-form Free All The Monsters.