The New Zealand Music Industry turned towards Gore this evening to celebrate the winners of the 2019 New Zealand Country Music Awards.

Jenny Mitchell received the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Artist | Te Kaipuoro Tuawhenua Toa Tui and Holly Arrowsmith was recognised with the APRA Best Country Song for ‘Slow Train Creek’, and Kerryn Fields won the MLT Songwriting Award with ‘Mama’.

Gore’s very own Jenny Mitchell began her career as a teenager and has since released two albums. Tonight she adds a Tui to her trophy cabinet, which already features MLT Songwriting and Gold Guitar Awards.

In the past 18 months, Jenny’s sophomore album Wildfire entered at #4 on the Official NZ Music Charts within weeks of release. She has toured through the southern coast of Sweden, dozens of cosy Irish pubs, Australian cities, and towns and throughout New Zealand.

With recent festival appearances with Australian Golden Guitar Winners Brad Butcher, Felicity Urquhart and Luke O’Shea, this is just the beginning for the young artist.

Holly Arrowsmith won a folk Tui for her first album For The Weary Traveller in 2016.

Since then, she crowdfunded her second album A Dawn To Remember, which was recorded between a cottage in the coastal town of Colac Bay and The Sitting Room recording studio in Lyttelton, New Zealand with renowned producer Ben Edwards.

This year, she’s the recipient of the 2019 APRA Best Country Song award for her track ‘Slow Train Creek’.

Kerryn Fields won the MLT Songwriting Award tonight as well after performing her song ‘Mama’ against a number of other writers including Tami Neilson, Jenny Mitchell and Kendall Elise Todd.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says the evolution of the New Zealand country music scene is a true testament to the raw talent of our Kiwi musicians.

“There’s a lot of soul across all this year’s finalists, infused into their songs, albums and performances.

“They’re masters of conveying mood and feeling through their music and we’re lucky to have them herald from Aotearoa.”

APRA AMCOS Head of New Zealand Operations Ant Healey says: “Country music in Aotearoa continues to diversify and strengthen every year, with many local artists being recognised in Australia and the US, and more artists heading to Nashville and beyond to collaborate with the world’s best.

“The annual NZ Country Music Awards in Gore are an integral part of this development, providing support and recognition to these many artists who continue to show the rest of the world how to expand the horizons of country music.”

Other finalists for the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Artist were Jamie McDell for her album Extraordinary Girl, and Tami Neilson for her sixth album Sassafrass!

‘Paint On A Sign’ by Jamie McDell, and ‘Manitoba Sunrise at Motel 6’ by Tami Neilson were the other finalists for the APRA Best Country Music Song.

The New Zealand Country Music Awards are hosted by the New Zealand Songwriters Trust and celebrates the best country musicians from Aotearoa and abroad.

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album


Finalists for APRA Best Country Music Song


Finalists for the MLT Songwriting Awards

  • WINNER: Kerryn Fields (‘Mamma’, ‘Until You’)
  • Kaylee Bell (‘Used to Getting Over You’)
  • Tami Neilson (‘Used To Getting Over You’, ‘Queenie’)
  • Kendall Elise (‘Slippery Creek’)
  • Jenny Mitchell (‘Lucy’, ‘Tug of War’)
  • Olivia Sutherland (‘Don’t’)
  • Miller Yule (‘Tangled Up’)
  • Ron Mitchell (‘I’ll Be Country’)