New Zealand Music Month has kicked off again with the start of May, and this year we’ve got lots to celebrate. Now in its 21st year, NZMM aims to spotlight all the fine talent we have here in Aotearoa and commemorate our rich musical history. From urban installations to gigs and events all around the country, there’s plenty of ways to get involved and show your support for our local artists. Here are some of our best picks.
MELODOWNZ at Studio The Venue | Sat 22 May
Rising Auckland rapper MELODOWNZ has had quite the come up. Starting with a dream in his bedroom, the Avondale MC has managed to build a musical career that seems to only be moving upwards. Mixing soul, reggae and hip-hop, MELODOWNZ has a sound that is truly unique and 100% NZ. Catch him playing a free show for his birthday at Studio The Venue on K-Road in Auckland on Saturday 22 May, with guests Wax Mustang, Polly Hill and the Katayanagi Twins.
Art of The Record Exhibition | 1 – 23 May
To celebrate NZMM’s 21st anniversary, the NZ Music Commission have created an exhibition that showcases 21 album covers from local artists throughout the years. Featuring original artwork concepts, photographs and sculptures, the exhibition highlights not only our musical talent but our distinctive artistic abilities as well. Art of The Record will start in Auckland before travelling down to Wellington, Christchurch and then Dunedin; and entry is free to the public. Find more details here.
The Butlers & Muroki Autumn Express Tour | 21 – 29 May
The Raglan native got his foot in the door when BENEE played one of his tracks on Elton John’s Rock Hour radio show. Since then, he’s become the first artist to be signed to her own label Olive Records, dropped his first EP Dawn, and set out to play gigs all over the country. Joining The Butlers, Muroki will be bringing his good vibes to Tauranga, Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Raglan. Tickets and details available here.
Drax Project Super Rugby Half Time Show | Saturday 8 May
Joining the Crusaders and Chiefs in the Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa Final in Christchurch this Saturday will be none other than Drax Project. Performing both before the game and then again during half time, the Wellington natives are set to put on quite the show. Kick off starts at 7:05 PM and Drax Project are set to take their first stage at 6:40 PM. Tickets and details available here.
Six60: Till The Lights Go Out Free Screening | Thursday 6 May
If you’re in Auckland, Auckland Live are celebrating NZMM with a bang this year. Head down to Aotea Square at 6pm this Thursday and catch a free screening of Six60’s legendary Six60: Till The Lights Go Out doc live on a giant outdoor screen. Look out for other activations happening around the city too, such as live music, pop-up stores, historical music walking tours, and installations that encourage you to break out your inner musician. Find more details here.
Harper Finn & LA WOMEN NZ Tour | 7 – 15 May
Harper Finn and LA Women are two of our country’s hottest pop upcomers and they’ve teamed up to bring their live show all around NZ this May. With Finn’s success from hit ‘Dance Away These Days’ and LA Women remaining a Rhythm & Vines fave, both artists continue to rise to the top with their synth-pop goodness. Starting in Christchurch, the tour will then move to Otago and Wellington before finishing up in Auckland. Tickets and details here.
The Legendary NZ Music Month Quiz | Tuesday 25 May
Consider yourself a NZ muso? Been around since NZMM’s beginning? The popular NZMM quiz will return this year to invite Kiwis to test their music knowledge with their friends. Kicking off at 6 PM at The Tuning Fork in Auckland, fans will have another chance to showcase their skill and come out on top as officially The One Who Knows Best. Tickets available here.
Live Music at Britomart Train Station | 4 – 26 May
Throughout the month, live music and performances will be played at Britomart to make Aucklanders’ commute a little more fun. From piano recitals to waiata sessions to a showcase of emerging local songwriters, an array of interactive and vibrant talent will be on display for the public to enjoy for free. Find more details here.
NZ Music T-Shirt Day | Friday 28 May
A favourite tradition, the NZ Music T-Shirt Day will return again this year in the hopes to further shine some light on our fave local musicians. As usual, Kiwis are encouraged to wear a shirt that supports a NZ artist and donate to the MusicHelps campaign that aims to support our talent and the live music scene that has suffered due to Covid-19. Simply sign up to start donating, or text MUSIC to 2448 to donate $3. Find more details here.
Waiata / Anthems on TVNZ On Demand | Streaming Now
The new docuseries follows on from the 2019 soundtrack of the same name and shows iconic NZ musicians translating some of their biggest hits into te reo Māori. Produced by the legendary Hinewehi Mohi and directed by Julia Parnell (Six60: Till The Lights Go Out), the seven-part series follows Hollie Smith and Don McGlashan, Che Fu, Bic Runga, Annie Crummer, MELODOWNZ, Drax Project and Katchafire’s Logan Bell as they all embark on a journey of power and self-discovery. All episodes are available to stream now on TVNZ On Demand here.