“These boys are so awesome I’m surprised Australia haven’t claimed them already”, quipped Stan Walker when presenting Six60 with one of the five Tuis the group picked at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards.

For now they remain mainly a Kiwi phenomenon, but their haul at NZ’s premiere awards event at Spark Arena in Auckland capped off what has been another hugely successful year for the five-piece pop-rockers. As well as becoming the first NZ group to sell out Auckland’s Western Springs stadium, Six60 have dominated both the NZ singles and album chart this year with their third self-titled EP.

Six60-Tuis-2018
Image Credit: TOPIC / James Ensing-Trussell

The majority of their awards were in recognition of their chart exploits, with the group winning the highest selling single and album, along with the airplay Tuis. However, they were also named best group and picked up the People’s Choice award, which was open for the first time to the VNZMA finalists.

six60 near crossing
Six60

However, it was also a good night for Marlon Williams, who followed up his APRA Silver Scrolls success by winning the awards for best album and solo artist for Make Way For Love. Earlier in the month, the singer-songwriter also won best music video Tui for the single ‘Vampire Again’.

First time winners included rising stars Drax Project, who won single of the year for ‘Woke Up Late’ as well as breakthrough artist of 2018, and Troy Kingi, who was recognised with both the best Māori and soul/R&B artist Tuis for Shake That Skinny Ass All the Way to Zygertron. Another popular winner on the night was Te Reo Maori metallers Alien Weaponry, who won the best rock award for their debut album .

The international achievement award, meanwhile, went to Brooke Ligertwood – better known as Brooke Fraser – whose work with worship group Hillsong earned her a Grammy earlier this year.

The evening culminated with the presentation of the Legacy Award to Kiwi hip hop pioneers Upper Hutt Posse.

This year’s VNZMAs were a more low key affair than last year, with no appearances from Lorde or other overseas stars; however, David Byrne made a video appearance presenting the best pop artist award to Kimbra.

This year’s ceremony was hosted by former Australia Idol winner Stan Walker and local TV celebrity Kanoa Lloyd, while performers on the night included Alien Weaponry, JessB, Six60, Robinson, Drax Project and Che Fu.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says the calibre of New Zealand continues to impress year on year.

“The quality of music being created and recorded in Aotearoa is world-class,” he says. ‘Each and every Tui awarded tonight was incredibly well deserved.”

nz music awards 2018 venue
The stage set for the 2018 NZ Music Awards

The full list of winners were:

Album of the Year: Marlon Williams – Make Way For Love

Single of the Year: Drax Project – ‘Woke Up Late’

Best Group: Six60 – Six60

Best Solo Artist: Marlon Williams – Make Way For Love

Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Drax Project

Best Maori Artist: Troy Kingi Best Pop Artist: Kimbra

Best Alternative Artist: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Best Soul/RnB Artist: Troy Kingi

Best Hip Hop Artist: SWIDT

Best Roots Artist: Sons of Zion

Best Electronic Artist: Chores

Best Rock Artist: Alien Weaponry

Best Worship Artist: Equippers Revolution

Best Classical Artist: Eve de Castro Robinson

Vodafone People’s Choice Award: Six60

Legacy Award: Upper Hutt Posse

Highest Selling Single: Six60 – ‘Don’t Give It Up’

Highest Selling Album: Six60 – Six60

Radio Airplay Record of the Year: Six60 – ‘Don’t Give It Up’

International Achievement: Brooke Fraser

Artisan Awards

Best Music Video: Marlon Williams – ‘Vampire Again’

Best Album Cover: Jaime Robertson & Matthias Heiderich – Sola Rosa, In Spaces EP

Best Producer: Simon Gooding, Tom Larking & Hammerhead – Alien Weaponry, Tū
Best Engineer: Jordan Stone & Simon Gooding – Neil Finn, Out Of Silence

Music Teacher of the Year: Elizabeth Sneyd – Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust, Porirua

Additional Tuis presented in 2018

Best Folk Artist: Albi & The Wolves – One Eye Open

Best Pacific Music Album: Ladi 6 – Royal Blue 3000

Best Country Artist: Reb Fountain – Hopeful and Hopeless

Best Jazz Artist: Umar Zakaria – Fearless Music

Best Children’s Artist: Levity Beet – My Best Friend Jake Is A Cyborg