Marlon Williams has won New Zealand's most prestigious songwriting award, the APRA Silver Scroll.

The Christchurch crooner's poignant ballad Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore earned him the top gong over four other finalists: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Troy Kingi, Chelsea Jade and The Beths.

Williams began his rise to stardom as part of the alt-folk band The Unfaithful Ways. He later worked with Delaney Davidson and fellow Scroll winner Tami Neilson on two collaborative records before releasing his critically acclaimed debut solo album (self-titled) in 2016.

I've always been a bit of a coward when it comes to writing my songs. The idea of putting anything of myself into a song is equally nauseating and enthralling," he said before thanking his former partner and fellow musician Aldous Harding, who also performed on the winning song.

His latest album, Make Way For Love released earlier this year to high critical acclaim and spawned his winning song Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore, which he recorded with Aldous Harding following the couple's split.

The Silver Scroll Award acknowledges excellence in songwriting and is the only peer-voted music award in New Zealand.

Other winners on the night included Maioha Award winners Ria Hall, Tiki Taane and Te Ori Paki for Hall's waiata Te Ahi Kai Pō.

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Michael Norris won the SOUNZ Contemporary Award (for the second time), David Long won Best Original Music in a Feature Film Award for his dramatic score for McLaren, and The Phoenix Foundation's Conrad Wedde, Lukasz Buda, and Samuel Scott won Best Original Music in a Series Award for their work on Australian TV series Cleverman.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also made an appearance at the awards ceremony to honour this year's New Zealand Music Hall of Fame inductee, Jenny Morris.

This year's ceremony was hosted by Anika Moa, and Bic Runga was the music director who selected a host of Kiwi talent to perform reimagined versions of the nominated songs.

Performers included Teeks, Ladyhawke, Lontalius, Finn Andrews, Aaradhna and more.

As this year's winner, Marlon Williams will receive $5000 and join an impressive list of previous winners which includes Lorde, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tami Neilson, Brooke Fraser, Don McGlashan, Scribe, Dave Dobbyn and music director Bic Runga herself.

All the winners from the 2018 Silver Scrolls:

APRA Silver Scroll:

Marlon Williams – Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore

APRA Maioha Award:
Ria Hall, Tiki Taane, Te Ori Paki – Te Ahi Kai Pō

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SOUNZ Contemporary Award:
Michael Norris – Sygyt

APRA Best Original Music in a Series:
Conrad Wedde, Lukasz Buda, Samuel Scott – Cleverman

APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film:
David Long – McLaren

Hall of Fame:
Jenny Morris