Jesse Mulligan, Sharyn Casey and Jayden King to host rebranded Aotearoa Music Awards 2020

New Zealand's annual music awards show will look and feel very different this year after Recorded Music NZ has rebranded the event and launched the Aotearoa Music Awards (AMA). 

Formerly the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards (VNZMAs), the rebrand aims to recognise Te Reo Māori as the first language of New Zealand and to reflect the importance of the country's tangata whenua and Te Ao Māori in the music scene, according to a press release. 

This year's three-and-a-half-hour-long show will be hosted by The Project's Jesse Mulligan and The Edge radio station's Sharyn Casey and Jayden King. It will feature 18 performances from New Zealand's best-loved musical acts. 

Mulligan, who will be hosting for the first time, said the opportunity to "stand alongside, celebrate and champion" some of his favourite musicians was "too good to miss". 

"This is my first time being asked to host the music awards and to be honest I had to take a big breath before saying 'yes'," he said in a statement. 

"There are some massive shoes to fill when you look at the list of previous hosts - including my incredible The Project co-host Kanoa Lloyd! 

"I've spent the past few years bringing the best of New Zealand music to as wide an audience as possible. So it feels right to be doing it here, on the biggest stage of them all."

The 2020 Aotearoa Music Awards - or AMA, pronounced 'ah-mah' - will see 20 Tui awards given out, as well as multiple inductees enter the NZ Music Hall of Fame. 

Hosts Sharyn Casey, Jayden King and Jesse Mulligan.
Hosts Sharyn Casey, Jayden King and Jesse Mulligan. Photo credit: Supplied

The new name and it's pronunciation are an "intentional reference to Te Ao Māori", according to Damian Alexander, creative director of Likeminds, the creative agency behind the rebrand. 

"An 'ama' is the outrigger used to support waka during voyages across the ocean. In the same way that Recorded Music NZ and the Aotearoa Music Awards support and celebrate New Zealand musicians and their work, as well as the support of the wider creative industry in Aotearoa," Alexander said. 

This year will be the 55th iteration of the New Zealand Music Awards, which began in 1965. Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says the new format of the event will have a renewed focus on celebrating local musicians and their craft. 

"The inaugural Aotearoa Music Awards will be an intimate reflection and celebration of the year that was and tell the stories of how our music community has navigated this unique and challenging year," Vaughan said. 

The finalists for the Aotearoa Music Awards will be announced on Thursday, October 8, and the ceremony will be held at Auckland's Spark Arena on Sunday, November 15. 

Live and exclusive red carpet coverage of the event will air on The Edge TV from 7pm, before the live show is broadcast on Three from 8.30pm and streamed via ThreeNow.