The annual Taite Music Prize awards ceremony took to a different stage this year amid the coronavirus lockdown, streaming online instead of being held at Auckland's Q Theatre.

Kiwi music fans throughout the country - including Jacinda Ardern - tuned in to watch some of Aotearoa's finest artists accept their awards on screen.

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Musician and actor Troy Kingi was awarded the main prize for his album Holy Colony Burning Acres, delivered last year with his band The Upperclass. The album tackles topics like colonisation and indigenous politics with a 70s-style reggae and deep roots feel.


The prize includes $12,500 in cash from Recorded Music NZ, recording time at Auckland's Red Bull Studios, and a year's supply of Red Bull product.

Dunedin-based songwriter Millie Lovelock, performing as Repulsive Woman, won the prize for Auckland Live Best Independent Debut for her eight-track guitar-based album Relief.

Lovelock is one half of indie/alt duo Astro Children but has also been releasing music as Repulsive Woman since 2015, spending 2018 at the Red Bull Music Academy in Berlin.

Repulsive Woman was awarded the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut prize for her album Relief. Photo / Supplied
Repulsive Woman was awarded the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut prize for her album Relief. Photo / Supplied

She receives $2000 in cash and an opportunity to perform live thanks to Auckland Live.

The prime minister presented the main award while acknowledging the losses Covid-19 has wreaked on New Zealand's music industry.

"These are uncertain times but something I'm sure about is our [music] industry will be a vital contributor to New Zealand's recovery and we are working hard as a government - as we speak - to make sure that the arts are at the centre of our revitalisation," Ardern said.

The Taite Music Prize, named after music journalist Dylan Taite, recognises New Zealand albums released in the past year and is open to all music genres from any record label.

Judges' decisions are based on the artistic merit of the album alone, rather than sales, artist recognition or popularity.