Out of 54 nominations, the following ten were chosen by an academy of industry judges:
The three finalists for the Best Independent Debut are:
Alongside the main prize, three additional awards will be presented at the ceremony: the Independent Music NZ Classic Record Award, the newly created Independent Spirit Award, awarded to a New Zealand person who assists our NZ musicians to grow and find their own unique pathways, and the Best Independent Debut Award, celebrating the freshest talent of Aotearoa. The winner receives a $2,000 cash prize.
Named after the late Dylan Taite, one of New Zealand’s most respected music journalists, the award recognises outstanding creativity for an entire collection of music contained on one recording.