As it happened: 2018 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards

The biggest night of the year for Kiwi music is here as the 2018 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards take place at Auckland's Spark Arena.

Kanoa Lloyd and Stan Walker are hosting the event, which celebrates the very best of New Zealand music from the last year.

Aotearoa's most recognisable musicians will be in attendance, along with plenty of other celebrities. Before the event officially kicks off, the stars will walk the red carpet and showcase some of the coming summer's hottest looks.

The night will feature performances from the likes of Six60, Alien Weaponry, Drax Project, Robinson, Jess B, Sons of Zion and Che Fu.

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10:48pm - The night closes with a powerful performance of 'Et Tu' by Che Fu and the Krates, with some impressive breakdancing onstage. 

10:40pm - Upper Hutt Posse is honoured with the Recorded Music NZ Legacy Award. The groundbreaking group began as a reggae band in 1985 and evolved into respected hip-hop musicians who opened for Public Enemy. Frontman Dean Hapeta reads out a lengthy list of former and current members as well as many others who were involved over the years. He then makes a highly political speech on such topics as Palestine, the colonisation of New Zealand and the migrant caravan heading to the US border.

10:30pm - Marlon Williams wins Album of the Year for his heartbreaking Make Way For Love, which was written about the dissolution of his relationship with fellow musician Aldous Harding. She gets a shoutout in his video acceptance speech, for "fuelling the fire" of his creativity.

10:25pm - Fresh off their Best Group win, Six60 perform their monster single 'Don't Give It Up'. Kanoa Lloyd acknowledges the truly astonishing success of the band, who to date are the only New Zealand act to sell out Western Springs Stadium.

Six60 performing 'Don't Give It Up'.
Six60 performing 'Don't Give It Up'. Photo credit: Newshub.

10:20pm - Jono and Ben present the Vodafone People's Choice Award soon after the last ever episode of their TV show. That award goes, predictably, to Six60!

10:15pm - The Prime Minister popped in to present an award - or at least, Laura Daniel in costume did. She and Newshub's Sam Hayes had some good banter, including a joke about the National Party not having each other's backs. The camera then cut to an excruciating shot of Simon Bridges grinning gamely. Six60 won Best Group, to the surprise of no one.

10:10pm - Mash-up alert! Sons of Zion perform 'Drift Away' and halfway through, Kings pops in to sing his own 'Don't Worry Bout It'.

10:00pm - Six60 have taken out another award, this time for Highest Selling Album of the Year.

9:58pm - National treasures Suzy Cato and Kings present Single of the Year, but not before Suzy reminds us what should really be the winner: 'It's Our Time'. Aaaaand Drax Project has won again for 'Woke Up Late'!

As it happened: 2018 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards
Photo credit: Three

9:55pm - JessB performs an eclectic rendition of her song 'Set it Off' with an impressive number of backup dancers and flags representing her heritage.

9:40pm - Damian Vaughan presents the International Achievement Award to Brooke Fraser for her work with Hillsong as well as her impressive solo career. She gives an emptional acceptance speech saying she's grateful to be able to create music for people with and without faith.

As it happened: 2018 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards
Photo credit: Three

9:35pm - Stan Walker performs an emotional rendition of 'Thank You' to honour figures from the New Zealand music industry who died in the last year.

9:28pm - While presenting Best Breakthrough Artist, Jesse Mulligan comments that the Brazilian music awards are "a lot smoother" than ours, which goes down like a lead balloon despite being a solid joke. Drax Project is announced as the winner!

9:25pm - SWIDT, all dressed in colourful camo outfits, have won Best Hip Hop Artist. In their joy they lead the audience in a group 'SKRRRRRT' (correct spelling unknown).

9:15pm - Robinson gives a spirited performance of her hit single 'Nothing to Regret', looking very much at home on the stage.

Robinson performing 'Nothing to Regret'.
Robinson performing 'Nothing to Regret'. Photo credit: Newshub.

9:12pm - Troy Kingi wins Best Māori Artist, and is greeted by a rousing haka as he accepts his award. Speaking first in Te Reo and then in English, he acknowledges fellow nominees Katchafire and Alien Weaponry as well as the entire Māori community. He says such an award might seem "tokenistic" but is hugely meaningful.

9:08pm - A quick peek backstage with Sharyn Casey reveals host Stan Walker reclining in his dressing room munching on McDonalds fries, as he can't eat burgers after recovering from stomach cancer.

9:05pm - Kimbra has won Best Pop Artist! She couldn't be in Auckland tonight so she accepts her award via video, being handed her award by none other than David Byrne of Talking Heads.

8:55pm - A stirring performance of 'Woke Up Late' from Drax Project gets the crowd going, so much so that paper starts cascading from the ceiling.

8:45pm - The first award of the night has gone to Sons of Zion for Best Roots Artist. They thanked fellow nominee Katchafire for being an inspiration.

8:35pm - The VNZMAS are officially underway, opening with a powerful performance of 'Kai Tangata' from thrash metal band Alien Weaponry.

8:25pm - Newshub entertainment reporter Monika Barton is live from the red carpet just before the ceremony starts!

7:45pm - Six60 lead singer Matiu Walters has been meeting and greeting fans on the red carpet. The band is up for four awards tonight including Best Pop Artist. For more behind the scenes video tonight, make sure you're following NewshubNZ on Instagram. 

As it happened: 2018 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards
Photo credit: Newshub.

7:25pm - In preparation for hosting tonight's awards ceremony, Kanoa Lloyd has released a single and music video in which she appears in all six videos in the 'Song of the Year' category. 

7:05pm - In true Kiwi spirit, a kapa haka group was there on the red carpet to welcome all the guests to the VNZMAs.

As it happened: 2018 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards
Photo credit: Newshub.

6:45pm - The red carpet is well underway, lined with musicians and media personalities.

Kiwi songstress Robinson (real name Anna Robinson) is nominated for Breakthrough Artist of the Year in this evening's awards ceremony, and will also be performing.

The Nelson-born singer spoke to Newshub's Alexandra Nelson live on the red carpet, saying she's "really excited and a little bit nervous" about tonight.

"I was here last year but I was just sitting down and watching, so to be part of it this year, I'm so excited."

Expect the red carpet to start around 6:15pm before the show itself starts at 8:30pm, which will be broadcast live on Three and livestreamed online.

To get into the right mood, The Project NZ has prepared this Spotify playlist of Single of the Year nominees, both past and present: