In celebration of the Māori New Year and rising of Matariki, a new wave of stellar talent comes through in the prestigious annual event recognising Māori talent and achievement – Ngā Whetū o Matariki – Matariki Awards 2019.

The 24 finalists will be celebrated at a special awards ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Saturday, June 29.

Hosted by Stacey Morrison and Matai Smith, it will be broadcast live on Māori Television.

"Basking in the brilliance of our stars of all these categories is inspirational for me, this celebration of success is always a major highlight and perfect way to celebrate Matariki," Morrison said.

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In its fourth year celebrating Māori excellence, finalists include some of our highest achievers and rising stars on both local and international stages.

2019 saw the most nominations the awards has had, with contribution to community being a big influence.

Smith said Matariki was the perfect time for Māoridom to unite and celebrate par excellence in the various realms of Te Ao Māori.

"I'm excited to see yet again the high calibre of our finalists this year, particularly our young stars. It fills my heart with confidence and optimism that our āpōpō is going to be all good!"

Live musical medley performances featuring a range of stars will be created especially for the awards, as well as the integration of a new Matariki AR (augmented reality) experience for viewers at home.

In addition to the eight categories, there will be three special awards announced and presented on the night. The Te Toi o Nga Rangi Lifetime Achievement Award returns in 2019 and recognises the recipent's outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of Aotearoa.

The inaugural announcement of Te Tohu Tiketike o Matariki Supreme Award is selected from all finalists on the night and celebrates exemplary achievements in their field.

And for the first time, a special recognition award for 2019 will be given for Outstanding Contribution to the Music Industry.

Previous winners at the Matariki Awards include Taika Waititi, Cliff Curtis, Mike King, Lisa Carrington, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Julian Dennison.

The 2019 Matariki Awards categories and finalists:

Te Waipuna-a-Rangi Award for Arts and Entertainment:

- The arts and entertainment category finalists are musician Troy Kingi, film producer Ainsley Gardiner, a co-producer for iconic New Zealand movies like Boy, only the country's highest grossing movie, and indigenous fashion couture designer Shona Tawhiao.

Te Waitā Award for Sport:

- In the sports category, Silver Fern coach Noeline Taurua, squash champion Joelle King and world-leading bowls player Shannon McIlroy are nominated for the 2019 award.

Te Whetū Maiangi Award for Young Achievers:

- The 2019 Young Achievers Award category is bursting with impressive rangatahi Māori. Surfing champion Te Kehukehu Butler, entrepreneur Kendall Flutey and waka ama prodigy Gabrielle Wainohu are the finalists for the award.

Te Tupu-ā-Nuku Award for Business & Innovation:

- Business innovation and Māori initiatives are an important staple for New Zealand's economy and future. The 2019 finalists are Moana NZ, Tipene Funerals and Whale Watch Kaikoura.

Te Tupu-ā-Rangi Award for Health & Science:

- The Health and Science category includes finalists Dr Amanda Black, Keri Opai and the late Smear Your Meas founder Talei Morrison, for their work to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Te Ururangi Award for Education:

- Acknowledging the significant contribution to the development of mātauranga Māori or the Māori knowledge sector, this year we celebrate Evelyn Tobin, Professor Graham Smith and Dr Kathie Irwin as finalists at this year's awards.

Te Waitī Award for Te Reo & Tikanga:

- To celebrate their contribution to the revitalisation of Te Reo and Tikanga Māori, Pania Papa, Anton Matthews (Fush Uka) and Spark's Kupu application are finalists for the Te Waitī Award for Te Reo & Tikanga.

Hiwa i te Rangi Award for Community:

- The Hiwa i te Rangi Award for Community showcases groups and organisations playing a vital role in their region. This year, Smear Your Mea, the Kai Matariki Trust and the Tukau Legacy have all been recognised as champions of outstanding contributions to community programmes and initiatives.

This years awards includes two half-hour specials on this years finalists leading up to the awards, a pre-live event on social media and the awards show itself.

Watch the Matariki Awards live on Saturday, June 29 at 8.30pm on Māori Television.