There will be two new faces fronting the New Zealand Music Awards this year - and some of the big-name finalists will be taking the Tuis show on the road around the country.

TV presenter Shannon Ryan and comedian Ben Hurley take over as hosts of the October 7 event at Vector Arena from Dai Henwood, who has presented the awards for the past two years.

Ryan's star has been on the rise ever since she started on C4 at the beginning of this year; she is currently the roving reporter on The Jono Project. But the 22-year-old was surprised when she was asked to be a host.

"I've worked in radio a bit but I'm new to the whole TV thing. They [hosts] are normally people who are really well-known and they haven't just popped up in the last year. But I don't doubt myself - it will be awesome, but at the same time it was surprising."

Ryan says over the coming months she and Hurley will be working on building up a good relationship so they have a good dynamic come awards time. "We want to work together as a team and make it exciting because it's one of the most important nights for so many musicians who have worked really hard to get there.

"So I just want to make it a great night for everyone."

Meanwhile, Hurley reckons he's just going to do what he's told.

"Obviously I'll bring my own comedy to it but other than that I'll just stand where I'm told."

Another new addition to the awards this year are two showcase gigs which will see three of the category finalists - to be named after the finalists announcement on September 1 - play special concerts at the Wellington Town Hall on September 16 and Christchurch's James Hay Theatre on the September 17.

RIANZ chief executive Campbell Smith says they have always wanted to include other city centres in the awards and he hopes to extend these showcases further afield next year.

Plus, this year also see the Critics' Choice Prize introduced, which honours up-and-coming Kiwi musicians.

"We want to recognise early and encourage the next generation of Tui winners.

"We have a great panel of highly respected critics from across the media and I am confident they have some great Kiwi talent in their sights," says Smith.

The winning musician or band will receive recording time at York Street Studios, $5000 worth of equipment from NZ Rockshop and mentoring from leaders in the music industry to help them further their music career.

A shortlist of three artists will be announced at the finalists announcement on September 1 and they will perform at the Kings Arms on September 15 when the winner will be announced.

Also during the finalists announcement the winners of the technical awards for best producer, engineer and album cover will be revealed.