Whanganui band NLC (No Limits Crew) picked up the award for the best roots, reggae recording at this year's Waiata Māori Music Awards.

NLC founder and songwriter Baz Muir said it was fantastic to bring the award home after being named as finalists for the past two years.

The award-winning album Know Your Roots has been a labour of love, Muir said.

"NLC is very privileged to receive an award and recognition from our peers," he said.

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"A lot of work has gone into the album that took close to a year to complete."

The songs on the album are all about identity and acknowledging foundations.

"The messages are simple really - don't forget your roots, don't forget where you came from and, most of all, never forget who helped you get to where you are."

Muir founded the band in Whanganui seven years ago and has been the constant driver of a changing pool of musicians.

There are mainstays like his multi-talented singing and keyboard playing daughter Shaye Muir and sax player, guitarist and vocalist Marcel Martin.

Then there are the young talents Muir likes to nurture, whether they have musical or acting talents.

"Part of the reason I formed NLC was to help rangatahi [young people] make a change in their lives.

"Music and video are positive, motivating factors that create self-confidence, positivity, guidance and self-belief."

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Whānau play a vital role in the NLC story and Muir's partner Rita Phillips is the cinematographer for music videos filmed in and around Whanganui.

Each one is a vignette telling a story in the context of a music video and Muir says the latest video is due for release on YouTube on September 27.

"It involves acting and dancing and will feature more rangatahi keen to jump on board."

The Waiata Māori Music Awards were held in Napier on September 13, with awards presented in 17 categories including four for lifetime achievers and two for emerging (under 25) artists.

Now in its 12th year, the awards were established by composer, musician and teacher Tama Huata ONZM (Ngati Kahungunu), a renowned leader and champion of Māori music and performing arts.

The awards are a celebration of excellence, Ellison Huata, executive director of the awards, said.

"The Waiata Māori Music Awards celebrate excellence in Māori music and acknowledge and honour the keepers, teachers, promoters, creators and performers of Māori music."