The National Waiata Māori Music Awards event has been moved online following the Government's announcement that the current Covid alert levels would remain in place.

A gala event was set to be held on October 2 at Toitoi-Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre.

National Waiata Māori Music Awards executive director Ellison Huata said an online version of the event featuring both pre-recorded material and live performances would be held on October 9.

"We're about to announce the finalists for this year's awards and we still want to have an event to let people know who the winners for 2020 are and to celebrate our Māori artists and music in what has been a very difficult year," she said.


Huata said they were planning to still have a presence at Toitoi as part of the virtual event, which would be streamed online via YouTube and the Waiata Māori Music Awards Facebook page.

"We still want people to tune in to watch this year's awards event, to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our Māori singers, songwriters and performers," she said.

Nominations for the awards closed at the end of Te Marama Pūoro Waiata Māori - Māori Music Month on August 31, with finalists announced on September 17.

The inaugural TikTok Whānau Challenge was also held over Māori Music Month, attracting 400 videos - and 540,000 views of the challenge worldwide.

"We asked people to think about what was their favourite waiata by a Māori artist and then create their own video and dance to share, to celebrate Te Marama Pūoro Waiata Māori," event host Te Atakura Huata-Harawira said.

"The response was really amazing, we had people not just from Aotearoa but also from Australia, America, Guam, from the UK, Canada and more."

Miquelle Blake from Flaxmere was one of six winners for her performance of an original song blending Māori proverbs and her own thoughts, Ko Tōku Reo.

"I love being Māori and am very proud to be part of Māori Music Month and seeing our language thrive," she said.


Manaia Canterbury from Hastings was another winner, along with Tarsh Green from Hamilton, Michael Kenny from Huntly, Stephanie Awheto from Hamilton and Dominique Smith from Auckland.