10 Kiwi Artists/Bands You Need To Hear Before Moving To New Zealand!

Written by Cecilia Rehn

Music transforms us all.

It’s a great introduction to a country’s culture, history, tradition and vibe.

We’ve assembled our favourite New Zealand artists, and highlighted some of their most popular songs.

You might have heard of Grammy-Award Winning Lorde - but do you know Amba Holly or Tiki Taane?

Take a seat, plug in the speakers or pop in those headphones, and enjoy! 


Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, known professionally as Lorde, is a singer-songwriter from Auckland, New Zealand.

The Grammy-Award Winning Artist has released two well-received albums.

Her first single, Royals, is her most well-known single.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia


Formed in 2008, this Dunedin pop rock band consists of:

  • Eli Paewai (drums)
  • Chris Mac (bass, synths)
  • Ji Fraser (lead guitar)
  • Marlon Gerbes (synths, samples)
  • Matiu Walters (vocals, guitar)

Starting out playing student gigs, the band is now recording music with the likes of Pharrell Williams and touring around the world.

In 2018 the band won five Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards and were the most streamed artist by New Zealanders on Spotify. 


Photo Credit: Stuff.co.nz

Tiki Taane

Tiki Taane (born Nathan Glen Taane Tinorau in Christchurch, New Zealand) is a musician, activist, producer, and live engineer.

His music style is varied, dipping into his Māori roots, getting inspired by hip-hop, acoustic songs and more.

His hit single ‘Always On My Mind’ still holds the record by staying in the NZ Top 40 Charts for 55 weeks.


Photo credit: Eventfinda


Ladi6 is a four-piece outfit from Christchurch headed up by vocalist and New Zealand's own hiphop soul queen, Ladi.

Ladi, born Karoline Tamati, is a recording artist Samoan descent.

Her debut album Time Is Not Much debuted at number 4 on the New Zealand Top 40 Album chart.

She began her career as a breakdancer, and discovered her love of music when her family temporally moved to Tanzania when she was a teenager.


Photo credit: New Zealand Music Commission

The Black Seeds

The Black Seeds are a musical group rooted in reggae from Wellington, New Zealand Their music is a boundary-crossing sound fusion of reggae, big beat funk, dub, afro music, pop, rock and soul.

They have released five albums, a live album, and two remix albums. In 2011 Black Seeds was described by Rolling Stone Magazine as "The Best Reggae band in the world right now".


Photo credit: Electric Avenue Festival


You may recognise this Hamilton, New Zealand singer from the multi-platinum single "Somebody That I Used to Know", where she was performed with Australian singer Gotye.

Kimbra has had a successful solo career, mixing pop with classic R&B, jazz and rock musical elements.

She has released three studio albums, as well as making her acting debut in 2019’s musical drama film Daffodils. 


Photo credit: Wikipedia

Amba Holly

Amba Holly is an Award-Winning Māori singer songwriter from Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

The Waikato-Tainui musician was given the Best Māori Female Solo Artist award for the third time in 2019, and also took home the Best Māori Songwriter award at the 2019 Waiata Māori Music Awards. 


Photo credit: Facebook

Troy Kingi

Born in Rotorua and based in KeriKeri, Troy Kingi is an eclectic New Zealand artist with a varied style.

On a self-proclaimed mission to release 10 albums in 10 different genres, Kingi has delivered three so far; one rock/blue inspired debut, followed by soul and then reggae.

His debut album won him best Māori pop artist and solo male at 2016’s Waiata Awards. 


Photo credit: Our Auckland Council - Faanati Mamea

Jenny Mitchell

Recorded Music 2019 NZ Country Artist of the Year, Jenny Mitchell has been around country music her whole life.

Growing up in New Zealand’s country music capital Gore, she went on to compete and place third on New Zealand’s Got Talent at age 14.

Her debut album debuted at number 1 on the NZ Country iTunes Charts. 


Photo Credit: Otago Daily Times


Katchafire are a New Zealand roots reggae band from Hamilton, New Zealand.

Originally formed as a Bob Marley tribute band, they soon began releasing their own music.

They have released five albums and have toured the world, with renowned reggae acts such as The Marleys, UB40 and Shaggy. 


Photo credit: Ostróda Raggae Festival


And if this isn’t enough music, here are three Kiwi bangers worth knowing!


OMC - How Bizarre



Split Enz - Six Months In A Leaky Boat



Bic Runga - Sway