The New Zealand music industry is growing in diversity.  The range of genres has increased in recent years keeping up with the changes in New Zealand society and new musical influences. The judging criteria of all the major global music awards are likewise moving in the same direction. The judging of the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards reflect all these factors.

There two main types of judging, the Voting Academy and the Voting Schools.
 
VOTING ACADEMY
Six categories are judged by the Voting Academy, which consists of more than 200 representatives from various sectors of the music industry (radio, press, TV, online media, previous winners, retailers, promoters and the like).

The Voting Academy judges Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group, Best Male Solo Artist, Best Female Solo Artist, Breakthrough Artist of the Year.

Additionally, a sales performance weighting of 30% is factored into the judging process for the following categories only: Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group, Best Male Solo Artist, and Best Female Solo Artist.
 
VOTING SCHOOL
Categories judged by Voting Schools, comprising of expert representatives from the relevant genre or sector of music: Best Maori Album, Best Worship Album, Best Classical Album, Best Rock Album, Best Pop Album, Best Alternative Album, Best Urban/Hip Hip Album, Best Roots Album,  and Best Electronic Album,and the Technical Award categories Best Producer, Best Engineer, Best Music Video and Best Album Cover which are presented at the Artisan Awards a month before the main gala event. Voting Schools also judge Best Folk Album, Best Jazz Album, Best Pacific Music Album, Best Country Music Album, and Best Children’s Music Album, which are awarded at separate functions throughout the year.

Voting Schools consist of an optimum of ten representatives (but no less than five representatives) from that genre or sector of music.

Two categories are judged or allocated by the Recorded Music NZ board International Achievement Award, and the Legacy Award. These awards are presented at the Board’s discretion.

ADDITIONAL CATEGORIES (nominations not accepted)
No finalists are announced for the Highest Selling NZ Single, Highest Selling NZ Album and Airplay Record of the Year Awards. The winners of these awards are determined by sales data supplied by the Official New Zealand Top 40 charts compiler.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
An appointed Music Awards Committee determines 5 finalists based on overall performance during the eligibility period. Voting is then open to the public to determine the winner.